Friday, 2 January 2015


Spare a thought for the poor Madeira cake. Consigned to the selves of supermarkets in dense little tasteless prepackaged blocks and derived by many there must surely be a way to make this forgotten tea time treat something special again. My answer? Booze of course! As it's just after Christmas this is the perfect time to use those last little bits of leftover Madeira wine in your cupboards to breath some life into this classic British bake. It's super easy to make that you won't need to buy those nasty shop bought versions ever again.

Madeira cake is named so after the wine, which in turn is named after the islands it was originally made. The cake used to be traditionally served with a slither of the wine during high tea (well according to Wikipedia anyway!) but I've decided that combining the cake and the wine together is a much better idea - two of my favourite things in one mouthful, whats not to like. If however you cannot get hold of any Madeira you could maybe use a rum or other sweet liquor instead.

If you do not drink alcohol you can still add a bit of a flavor kick to the cake by replacing the wine in the recipe with tbsp's of orange or lime juice instead. Experiment with what you have in your kitchen, it's such a fabulously versatile cake that almost anything will work well with it! Here comes the recipe, try it yourself and see what scrummy ways you can up with to make your Madeira magic.

Madeira Cake

250g Soft Unsalted Butter
220g Golden Caster Sugar 
(And A Touch More For The Top)
3 Whole Eggs
225g Self Raising Flour
100g Plain Flour
1 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
 3 Tbsp Madeira Wine
60ml Semi Skimmed Milk

  1. Oven straight on to 170 degrees (150 fan) and grease and line a loaf tin ready for the scrummy cake batter.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and combined before adding in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until each egg is combined.
  3. Gently fold through both the flours until you see no streaks of flour in the mix. Add in the lemon juice and 2 Tbsp of Madeira wine and keep folding until combined followed finally by the milk which should once again be folded gentlyuntil a thick sticky batter has formed.
  4. Transfer your batter into the loaf tin and level the top with a spatula before sprinkling over. Bang the tin on your work top to remove any air bubbles and then place in the oven for around 50 minutes to 1 hour until our old friend the inserted skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake has gone golden brown.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and whilst the cake is still hot, prick it with a skewer to make some small holes before brushing over the remaining tbsp of Madeira.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin before transferring over to a wire rack. Whilst the cake cools on the wire rack the last remaining tbsp of Madeira will soak into the cake making it boozily delicious and moist, perfect for an after dinner treat or as a little afternoon delight with a cup of tea. 

Hopefully it wont just be the wine going to your head that convinces you that we shouldn't be scared of Madeira cake but the fabulous taste. Embrace our dearly forgotten friend the Madeira cake, she deserves it!

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