23 November 2017

Madeira Cake - A British Classic

Madeira Cake - A British Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com

Madeira Cake is a classic British cake that’s been around for a couple hundred years. With few and simple ingredients, it’s so “plain Jane” that many people overlook it. But it’s a classic for a reason—it’s really good!

My mother and I always liked the buttery, faintly lemony aromas wafting through the kitchen as it baked. Since it’s baked in a deep tin, it takes longer to bake than a layer cake. The firm but tender texture makes beautiful slices for teatime, lunchbox or in trifle and other desserts.

If made correctly, it will be domed and have a crack on the top. And, contrary to its name, will not contain Madeira. It got its name simply because it was served with a glass of Madeira. But I’ve only ever served it with tea, and that’s a pretty delightful combination as well.

When baking layer cakes (in UK, sandwich cakes), especially ones that will be decorated, bakers take measures to prevent doming and cracking. There are lots of recipes out there for Madeira cake that incorporate some of those tactics, and that is wrong. Might make a nice cake, but it won’t be a Madeira cake.

You will need this particular size cake tin, a 3-inch/8cm deep 6-inch/15cm round cake tin for this amount of batter. What I love about this size tin is that it makes the perfect size cake for small pieces (3x3x1-inch wedges) for afternoon tea. Of course, you can also cut larger pieces for dessert.

This is not a Lemon Drizzle Cake, so I did not put a glaze on it; those little runs you see on the side are just from the candied lemon slices I placed on top for decoration. Have you ever made a Madeira cake?


Madeira Cake - A British Classic / www.delightfulrepast.com


Madeira Cake


(Makes one 3-inch/8cm deep 6-inch/15cm round cake)

1 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (6.25 ounces/177 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour*
2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons non-GMO baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons (4.5 ounces/128 grams) unsalted butter, softened**
2 large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

* Many British recipes call for self-raising flour, but mine will always call for plain flour. I prefer to be in control of the amount of baking powder and salt I use.

** Let butter stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Butter needs to be a little softer for a hand mixer than for a stand mixer. It should be squishable, but not melting or greasy/oily. 

1 Preheat oven to 300F/150C/Gas2. Butter a 3-inch deep 6-inch round cake tin. Line the bottom with a round of baking parchment. Turn the parchment over so that both sides are buttered. Lightly flour the tin.

Note: I've also baked it at 325F/165C/Gas3 for about 50 minutes with good results, but I think I prefer the lower temperature for the longer time.

2 In 2-quart bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. With electric hand mixer, mix the softened butter into the flour mixture until it resembles crumbs. On low setting, mix in the eggs, lemon juice and zest just until combined; beat on medium to high speed for 1 minute. The batter is quite stiff and should just drop slowly off a spoon when nudged. If it is too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk or another tablespoon of lemon juice, if you like.

3 Scrape batter into prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center or when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

4 Leave in tin on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from tin. Peel away the parchment on the bottom and set right side up on rack to cool completely.

Don't forget to Pin it! Pins and all social media shares are greatly appreciated.

80 comments:

ellen b said...

Looks fabulous and I pinned it! :)

Marilyn Miller said...

The cake sounds totally delicious! Thanks for visiting me and enjoying my Joey.

Angie Schneider said...

It's my favourite! I prefer cakes without heavy icing..this one fits the bill and it looks gorgeous as well, Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Ellen, thank you. Much appreciated!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Marilyn. Tea and cats are two of my favorites!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Angie, thanks. Icing looks pretty, but I always scrape it off! :D

Tony Grant said...

Ha!!!I am one of the first to comment for a change, but not,the, first. One day, Jean.
I made a Victoria sponge for Abi's 17th birthday earlier this month. I put lemon juice in the ingredients to give the flavour a bit of a bight. Does that count? Anyway, I am disappointed. Yes, a nice cup of tea is lovely with a piece of cake but you really must try Madeira wine. It is a fortified wine, rich in colour and flavour, a little like a sherry. But to get your literary taste buds going, it is the drink that pirates and smugglers brought into England, by way of hidden coves, all along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, throughout the 18th century. It was the drink of Long John Silver ( a literary character) Black Beard, Henry Morgan and the dastardly Captain Kidd. (All real pirates).I am not sure whether Jack Sparrow drank it. I bert he did.Ha! Ha! It provides a warming sensation and fortification against the seafaring way of life. I also hear that it was the favourite drink of some of your early presidents, George Washington, John Adams and so forth.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Oh my, Jean, your cake looks amazing! I love a plain cake better than a frosted one although the frosted ones oftentimes look nicer. My absolute favourite is one like yours with a hint of lemon in it. This would be superb with a cup of tea! Thank you for the recipe and I wish you and those you love a Happy Thanksgiving!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, I'm sure Abi loved your Victoria sponge! I've always intended to try this cake with a wee glass of Madeira, but now that you've shamed me, I'll get right on it! :D Must pick some up. I use a lot of sherry and brandy in my cooking, so if I don't like drinking the Madeira I can always cook with it, right? Not sure that I want to emulate all those pirates I've read about, though!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Sandi. This size cake also fits perfectly on the plates in my trios, but I do love my little 8-inch glass cake stand.

Mrs Shoes said...

Very nice looking for plain jane; I'm tempted by the picture alone.

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

Looks yummy! Would like a piece with a cup of tea this afternoon please!

Louca por porcelana said...

Wow,it looks really good!Yummy!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Mrs Shoes. I was hoping the picture would look appealing.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sugar, I wish you could run right over and join me this afternoon for cake and tea!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Maristella!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

No, I've never made, nor eaten a Madeira cake, Jean, but I'd sure love a slice of yours with a cup of tea. I was surprised to hear that there's not Madeira as an ingredient. You share so many recipes that I would love to try. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Kitty! I hope you'll try a few soon and let me know how they work for you. Hope you're having a wonderful day!

Balvinder Ubi said...

What a delightful cake! The picture looks beautiful, Jean!

Tony Grant said...

I am certain you can cook with Madeira wine Jean. Other fortified wines are Sherry and Port. I don't particularly like Sherry . When I was a child my grandfather used to give me a sip of sherry at Christmas.I always think it is too sweet although I know you can get a dry version. Now a good bottle of Port is something else. I was once given a very nice bottle of Port as a Christmas present from the father of a child I taught. I had never drunk Port up to that time. Over the Christmas period I drank the whole bottle myself. It was one of the best drinking experiences I have ever had. It was lovely. Anyway, enough about my drinking exploits. I am sure you will like a nice Madeira. Would Mr Delightful like to try it too? If I lived near you Jean I would come round with a bottle for you both as a present for Christmas.Perhaps one day.

Kate Goodger said...

This Madeira cake looks lovely! I didn't know Madeira cake wasn't from Madeira until I visited Portugal this year! I was a bit upset as I love it and it actually wasn't something that was on the menu (Madeira wine was though, which was really nice). I don't have pintrest (I will rectify this) So I will print this out and have a go! When I get pintrest I promise to pin! #Dreamteamlinky

xinex said...

Looks so yummy! Happy Thanksgiving!...., Christine

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Balvinder - I *do* aim for "delightful"!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, perhaps one day I will try Port again with the right food. A dessert wine can be quite nice with the right dessert. But with the wrong one, yech! But first on my list will be to try a bottle of Madeira, which Mr Delightful will want to try with the cake as well.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kate, thank you so much! Do let me know how it turns out for you. Did you try the Portugese custard tarts while you were there? I don't know how much they differ from British custard tarts.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Christine. I hope you're having a wonderful day!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

This is a great classic cake and it isn't given the praise it deserves these days - that may be because of the cheap, industrial versions of the cake that you can buy in the supermarkets. Your version is on a different planet (a much better one, obviously) to those nasty imitations. It was my mother's favourite cake, although she never had much time for baking, so I used to bake it for her. It's just perfect with a cup of tea, of course, but a thin slice as a dessert on a summer evening in the garden with a small glass of dessert wine (or madeira) is a total joy.

Margie said...

I would also rather enjoy your yummy cake with tea than Madeira. Happy Thanksgiving, Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, thank you so much - means a lot coming "straight from the horse's mouth," so to speak, since you are a wonderful British baker! I have a feeling I'll be picking up a bottle of Madeira on my next shopping trip.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Margie! And I hope you're enjoying the last month of autumn and staying cozy!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

This is a naked cake, plain and simple. Surprised it’s British. You’d think they’d be buttoned to the nines with something to cover up. Should call it the “Emperor’s new clothes cake.” Those candied lemon slices are a bikini and look quite edible. Of course, maybe that’s because I skipped dessert in my Thanksgiving repast. Hope your Thanksgiving was warm and sweet with or without lemon slices…

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, you skipped dessert?! Yes, those candied lemon slices are edible. And since I didn't preboil them a couple of times before they went into the sugar syrup, they have a little bitterness that is really quite nice.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Jean, I have never had or baked a Maderia cake. It certainly has all of the elements that I enjoy. The addition of the lemon slices would make it even more lovely enjoyed with afternoon tea. ♥

Quinn said...

Thanks so much for this recipe, Jean - looks exactly my kind of cake! I am so glad to learn about it, as I had assumed it was made with Madeira and imagined something completely different. Pinned! And I'm enjoying all the informative comments here as well :)

Mildred said...

I've never tasted this cake, but it sounds so good.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Martha Ellen. I have just a few slices left in the freezer, so will have to make another one soon.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Quinn. It's so easy and so good. I'm glad you read the comments, too. I always read the comments when I visit a blog.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Mildred. I hope you'll give it a try!

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

I have never heard of Madeira cake, but anything lemon, I love! I can't wait to try this simple tea cake! It sounds delicious!!!! Thank you for your excellent instructions! I hope you are having a lovely day today :)

Cocoa and Lavender said...

This cake is new to me, Jean, and (thank you) I’ll opt for the glass of Madeira! Plain cakes are Mark's favorite, so perhaps this is what he’ll get for his upcoming 65th birthday!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Marilyn. I've posted lots of lemon recipes because, like you, I love lemon. Do let me know how it turns out for you and if I need to add any instructions about anything.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

David, thank you! I do hope Mark will like it as much as we do on his big occasion! I'm going to pick up some Madeira this week.

Sue Loncaric said...

this looks great Jean and you can't beat the traditional favourites. Thanks for sharing with us at #BloggersPitStop. Have a great weekend.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Sue. I love baking the traditional favourites!

Annette, 3 Little Buttons said...

Mmmm Madeira cake is Mr Buttons favourite. It's so good with a cup of tea I think, and as it's not overly crumbley it's fab to bring out on picnics too. Oh no. Now I can't stop thinking of cake! It's your cake photo Jean, it looks amazing. BTW - I had no idea that it was meant to have a crack in the top! Thanks for joining us for the #DreamTeam xx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Annette, thank you so much! Love the #DreamTeam. Happy that I was able to supply that little factoid about the crack on top! :-)

Red Rose Alley said...

Jean, the Madeira Cake looks moist and Yuumy. I love anything with lemon. Wish I had a piece to go with my coffee right now. I know how much you love to cook, and you might like the recipe that Nel posted today on our blog, "Pastitsio." It's kind of like a Greek lasagna. It's very good with lots of spices.

I look forward to seeing all the goodies you make for Christmas!

~Sheri

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Sheri! Nel's pastitsio looks good! That's something I haven't made in years, but now I'm inspired, though I make it with beef rather than lamb.

The Lazy Gastronome & Pleasures of the NW said...

Absolutely beautiful! I'd love to have you share at our what's for dinner party! http://www.lazygastronome.com/whats-dinner-sunday-link-party-124/

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you! I can do that!

Heather Keet said...

This looks absolutely delicious, I can’t wait to try my hand at baking it! #DreamTeam

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Heather. Do let me know how it turns out for you!

Miz Helen said...

Your Cake looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing with us at our Thanksgiving Edition of Full Plate Thursday! Hope you have a great week and come back soon!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Miz Helen, thank you. I'd love to have cake and tea on the porch with you!

Fran @ Gday Souffle said...

Jean, I agree with you- Let the cracks form on top of the cake! I think of the cracks as being like facial wrinkles- adding lots of character. I like the dome shape of the cake and the lemon flavors!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Fran. I just find it interesting that a crack and a dome are mistakes in some cakes and *required* in others!

Jeanie said...

I know that I looked at this before -- I must have had the phone ring or something. Anyway -- this looks really fabulous and would be a wonderful Christmas cake! Lemon? Oh yes, please!

Sandra Lee said...

This is such a beautiful cake and I love the dome. The pan is a must have for me!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Jeanie - I'm glad you came back to it! Isn't lemon the best!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandra, thank you so much. I know *you* will get lots of use out of that pan!

Mrs Mummy Harris said...

Who doesnt love madeira cake? OOOO I really fancy some now!
Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Mrs Mummy Harris! I should make one every week!

Jann Olson said...

Anything buttery and I'm in! YUM, YUM!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

Michelle Leslie said...

I love Madeira Cake. We find it often here in the coffee shops in South Africa. Your looks so deliciously moist Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Jann! Everything is better with butter, right?!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Michelle, thanks. It's not a "thing" here in the US. AND it's difficult to get a proper cup of tea when you're out and about.

Kitchen Riffs said...

I've never had this cake! And I DO like maderia. Next time I get a bottle I need to make this. :-) Thanks!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Well, of course, *you* and Mrs Riffs would know about Madeira! (slaps forehead) I've got to pick some up soon and give it a try!

Kate said...

How may ways can I say yum! Cannot beat classics. #TriumphantTales

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kate! I quite agree!

Pam Richardson said...

Jean, this cake looks so moist and delicious! I had never heard of it before...thanks for sharing the recipe!

handmade by amalia said...

This is one of my favorite cakes and yours just looks perfect. I could go for a slice right now. Big sigh.
Amalia
xo

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Pam. And I do love that a lot of my recipes are new to many of my readers!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Amalia. I could go for a slice right now, too, but my freezer stash is all gone!

April J Harris said...

There's nothing like a good Madeira Cake, Jean! Yours looks so lovely! I've only ever made them as a loaf - I really like your round version. It's a bit more elegant. Thank you so much for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Have a wonderful weekend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, April, AND for hosting the link party!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

Sounds like a cake I would love!!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, BRnLC - and it's so easy!

Jo - Pickle & Poppet said...

I love Madeira cake, I've never tried to make one though #TriumphantTales

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jo, you need to make this! It's easy and sooo good!

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