How to make the best Madeira cake – easy recipe

Madeira cake is hands down one of the most underrated cakes there is out there, soft yet crispy exterior with that lemony zing to bring a little citrus kiss to cut through the richness. Although it is a simple cake, it is the perfect tea-time treat.

Now before I get to the easy recipe on how to make this cake, let’s just get to the one question that always pops up when you discuss a Madeira cake, what is different from this and a  pound cake?

Madeira cake vs pound cake – what is the difference?

In reality, there is no real difference between the two. In fact, Madeira cake, loaf cake and pound cakes are pretty much all the same recipe. You may find that some pound cake recipes include buttermilk and they are a little sweeter, but in reality, they will be made in pretty much the same way.

This recipe is one that I have been using for years, it has evolved a little over the years but the original recipe still remains the same. It is a simple bake that I believe anyone can do and trust me, it is one of the easiest cakes for you to bake to have with your cuppa.

It doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and the equipment list is minimal too.

How to make the best madeira cake - easy recipe

Equipment needed to make a Madeira cake

  • Loaf tin – I used a 2lb loaf tin that I picked up from Asda recently, only £3.75! You could use other shaped cake tines, however, the traditional recipe uses a loaf tin.
  • Mixer, electric mixer or hand whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Spatula
  • Cooling rack

The best Madeira cake recipe

Ingredients

  • 225g Self-raising flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • 225g Unsalted butter
  • 225g Golden caster sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Large eggs

Instructions 

  • Grease a loaf tin and preheat the oven to 170 c or gas mark 3
  • Cream butter, adding the sugar a little at a time until light and fluffy. I do this in my mixer on a medium speed.
  • Mix in the eggs, 1 at a time. If it looks as though the mixture is splitting, add a little flour.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder and mix well.
  • Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla
  • Pour into the tin and tap to ensure the cake batter evenly spread
  • Bake at the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a metal skewer/cake tester comes out clean from the centre of the cake.
  • Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 15 minutes then turn out to cool completely

How to make the best madeira cake - easy recipe

If you would like to download the recipe card for this, you can do so here:

How to make the best madeira cake - easy recipe

How to make the best madeira cake - easy recipe

Yield: 12 Slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 225g Self-raising flour (or all purpose flour)
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • 225g Butter
  • 225g Golden caster sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Large eggs

Instructions

  1. Grease a loaf tin and preheat the oven to 170 c or gas mark 3.
  2. Cream the butter adding the sugar a little at a time until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the eggs, 1 at a time. If it looks as though the mixture is splitting, add a little flour.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder and mix well.
  5. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla.
  6. Pour into the tin and tap to ensure the mixture is evenly spread.
  7. Bake at the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a metal skewer comes out clean.
  8. Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 15 minutes then turn out to cool completely
How to make the best madeira cake - easy recipe

How to make the best madeira cake - easy recipe

Top tips to make this lovely cake 

It is a common misconception that the simplest cake takes far too much time or ingredients to make but that is not the case and this lemon madeira cake is proof of that. 

You will know when this cake is almost ready as the top of the cake starts to crack and gives you that traditional Madeira cake, do not be put off if takes a while to do this, it will happen. 

You can make this an orange Madeira cake with just a little tweak to the recipe, switch out the lemon for orange peel and you will have another classic British bake! 

This cake works best with self-raising flour however if you only have plain flour, you can make this sponge with that. You may find that it has a little more of a dense texture, however, it would still taste amazing. 

The cake is yummy warm however if you want to enjoy it best, wait for it to come to room temperature. Then the only decision is whether to go for thin slices or thick slices!  It is best stored in an airtight container once completely cooled and then you can have a treat with your afternoon tea for the next couple of days if it lasts that long.

I don’t line the loaf pan as mine is non-stick, however, if you would prefer you can line it with parchment paper in a U shape, this will make it easier to get the cake out once it has cooled.

Regardless of whether you think this is the best classic Madeira cake or the perfect point cake recipe, there is something perfect about those lemon cakes that take them to the next level.

If this cake tickles your taste buds then why not try out some more of those classic British cakes you would expect to see on Great British Bake Off. For something a little more fancy, why not make a gorgeous Victoria sponge cake using fresh strawberries or fresh berries and whipped cream? Another alternative is our gorgeous chocolate loaf cake, which you can find here.

No matter which slice of cake you go for though, you will find that they all go down just as well with a good cup of tea.

How to make the best Madeira cake - easy recipe

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