Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Madeira Cake

Madeira Cake is an English standard - an afternoon tea isn't really the same without it. At it's most basic it's a mix of flour, almond meal, eggs, butter and sugar - the almond meal giving it a more unusual texture, it's dense but extremely moist.

Since I'm on a bit of a lime kick and this will make a perfect partner to my lime curd, I've added lime juice and zest to the basic recipe.


Madeira Cake
[Makes 1]

180 grams self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams almond meal (ground almonds)
180 grams caster sugar
180 grams softened butter, cut into small cubes
3 eggs, lightly whisked
1 lime, zest and juiced

Butter and flour a loaf pan or square pan - line the base with baking paper.

Sift the self-raising flour with the baking powder and add to the bowl of a mixer along with the almond meal and caster sugar. Give this a stir to combine then add the very soft butter, eggs, lime zest and juice. Beat until the mixture comes together and is well amalgamated.

If the mix seems a bit too hard then add a little milk, a tablespoon at a time. Variations occur due to differences in egg sizes and the absorbency of the flour. It needs to have a drop-able consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and then place in a preheated 160°C/325°F for about 1 hour or until cooked through. If you find it's browning too quickly, just cover with foil.

Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes before turning out to a rack.


Simple to make and wonderfully buttery, it's a pleasure to eat as is. For something a little more decadent just smother a slice with a good spoonful of lime curd.

cake and curd

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  1. Haalo - the shape of your Madeira cake is really beautiful - I like the indention along the edges. And yes, lime curd sounds like a perfect match!

  2. haalo - if you dont stop doing all these killer recipes with lime curd (or things that just go wonderfully with it) i will look like a whale in my bikinis this summer. i love madeira cake! and i am sure its even better with some lime curd. looks like i need to make another jar.

  3. I love Madeira cake, Haalo!

    I've only baked it once, but it was delicious. I had many recipes at home but went for a Donna Hay's recipe because of the addition of almond meal.

    Your cake looks spectacular - the color is beautiful!

  4. I got lost in your luscious photo of the slice of Madeira cake, bountifully slathered with homemade lime curd. Isn’t there a gustatory terrorism law against luring unsuspecting cake and curd-o-philes into taking a bite out of their computer monitors?

  5. Almost enough to make you want to move to England, eh? A nice slice of cake, a cup of tea and a glass of Madeira tucked out of sight of your mother.

  6. This cake is so beautiful. I think the addition of lime in the cake is an excellent idea. I will remember to get some limes to make your lime curd, too.

  7. The only time I had Madeira cake was long ago and I remember not liking it. However, your gorgeous photos have changed my mind, and this is now added to my ever-growing must-bake list.

  8. I don't think I've ever had Madeira Cake -- but this is absolutely gorgeous and may be just the inspiration I need to try it.

  9. And there is no Madeira in Madeira Cake? Do you know why? Was it made to compliment the drink?

  10. Oh my! This looks fabulous. I love recipes with almond meal. It offers a wonderful distinctness in the final product. This will be a great addition to a Sunday brunch!

  11. Thanks Pille - you can even toast this if there's any left after a couple of days ;)

    Oh Myriam, it might be best if I don't tell you my other plans involving limes, I don't know if you will survive. I will do something savoury to restore the balance ;)

    Thanks Patricia - I've always thought that almond meal was the difference between this and a pound cake but having done a bit of research I think it's something that's developed over time.

    Jay - just promise not to report me to the relevant gastronimic authorities. I am armed with jars of lime curd and I'm not afraid to use them ;)

    Almost Trig but if I was to leave the "best country in the world®" Italy would be my destination.

    Thanks Anh - lime curd for easter would be a lovely treat.

    Thanks Mercedes - I hope you give the cake a second chance.

    Thanks CC - you should try it at least once!

    TW - Your question had me searching the old cookbooks and while Mrs Beeton seems to predate it I did find it in the Book of Cakes from 1903 and it is basically a pound cake with "a few spots of madeira extract".

    The recipe to make one cake uses 2 lbs buter, 2¼ lbs sugar, 23 large eggs and 2½ lbs flour!

    Thanks Chris - it's a perfect idea for brunch, it's not too heavy and stays wonderfully moist and you'll have room for a second slice ;)

  12. Haalo, while I was seeking dinner ideas for a couple of guests tomorrow I stubled on your site. Even though I have more than enough cook books at home I still look for visual stimulation and inspiration. I am not a sycophant when I extol your patisserie talents. Forgive me but I am going to use your Madeira cake recipe, add amoretto, and serve it with a cup of white peach tea. Thank you.

  13. gorgeous - another use for leftovers as if there would be such a thing = English Trifle!

  14. Thanks Sam, I'd totally forgotten about trifle!

  15. I'm a novice, so am wondering how you would adapt the English measurements for American ones. Could you translate this recipe into an American one with ounces instead of grams, please? Thanks,
    M. Forest

  16. M Forest - conversion is as simple as doing a google search - for example, you want to find out what 100 grams is in ounces - type "100 grams in ounces" into google and press search.

    The first result is the google calculator which tells you the exact result, in this case 3.5 ounces.

    A teaspoon is the same size in both american and australian systems however an Australian Tablespoon = 4 teaspoons.

    I do not offer cup measures as they are too inaccurate.

  17. AnonymousMay 13, 2009

    yummy!!!! i'd like to make a bigger, round version for my sons birthday cake if i doubled the ingredients should i double the cooking time too?
    Thanks. Andie

  18. You wouldn't necessarily have to double the time - it would also depend on the size of the tin and how deep or shallow it is. Best advice is to watch and see how the cake behaves.


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