madeira cake

April 30, 2012

This cake is a simple English treat – lemony but not overly so, nor too sweet, and perfect with some thick compote or a dollop of lemon curd on top.

I spent several hours on Friday night baking for the bake sale I mentioned participating in. I made double chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt and lemon-drenched lemon cake – two of my favourites! But of course, since I was packaging it up for other people I didn’t get a chance to steal myself a slice of cake and so I was left hankering for something lemony.

Enter this cake. Yes, lemony, but a completely different beast to that other one. This is much more of a simple everyday cake, jazzed up with some lemon zest and juice and perfect if you’re in the mood for something sweet but not dessert-like or cloying.

I always thought that Madeira cake came from the islands of Madeira, but no!  Evidently, centuries back in the U.K. it was popular to eat a slice of this cake with a glass of Madeira wine. If you have some on hand then please give it a go and report back but personally I’d recommend it with a good cup of tea. Enjoy!

Madeira Cake
adapted from Nigella Lawson


  • 240g/8.25oz softened unsalted butter
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 320g/ 2.5 cups all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda


  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/330F. Butter a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf tin, buttered and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and light, and add the lemon zest.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each egg to prevent the mixture curdling.
  5. Gently mix in the rest of the flour and, finally, the lemon juice. Transfer batter to prepared pan and  sprinkle with about 2 tbsp sugar. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
  6. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.
Email this to someonePin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

Previous post:

Next post: