A really good Madeira cake is such a pleasing, delicious and nostalgic cake. Although it is such a simple cake, it is far from boring when made with the best ingredients. It absolutely must be made with pure butter and a great quality vanilla extract for the best flavour. I like to add a little lemon zest to cut through the richness. Seeds also work well here, either poppy seeds or even caraway seeds to make a traditional seed cake. Two heaped teaspoons of one or the other will be enough.
This is an excellent cake to make as a present, or to serve to visitors, either with tea or coffee, or as a pudding, perhaps with some fresh berries and homemade ice cream.
Above all, this is a most useful recipe for any cook to have in their repertoire and a great recipe for less experienced cake makers to start with.
- 250g salted butter, softened
- 200g golden caster sugar, plus 20g for sprinkling
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used Ndali)
- Zest 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated (I use a Microplane)
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 300g self raising flour
- Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a 2lb/900g loaf tin with non-stick baking parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer and beat well until light and fluffy.
- Add the beaten eggs and beat until incorporated into the mixture, followed by the flour, sifted in.
- Fold the thick batter together until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Tip into the pre-prepared tin, smooth off and sprinkle with the extra caster sugar.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes in the pre-heated oven until well-risen, a rich golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before carefully removing, peeling away the paper and allowing to cool fully on a wire rack.
- Serve just warm, or once cool.
- This cake freezes well and will keep for up to 5 days in a sealed box.