Madeira Cake is a simple, sweet loaf cake from Britain. It's just begging to be topped with fresh fruit or jam and plenty of sweetened whipped cream. Get out your fancy teapot and enjoy a slice in the middle of the day. It would be rude not to.
I've been an anglophile pretty much my whole life. Even though I live in Scotland, I've always had a love affair with the whole idea of England. From reading English novels as a girl to studying witchcraft as an adult, this part of the world has always seemed magical to me. And to be honest, as an American, I didn't truly understand the difference between Scotland and England until I moved here.
Don't get me wrong, I love Scotland. It's got this wild, untamed energy that is powerful and mystical. But when you walk in the English countryside, you can't help but believe that fairies exist. I feel connected to the stories and myths from my childhood fantasy days. Plus, its just a bit warmer down there, and that helps a lot.
What makes Madeira Cake so awesome?
I also love that the English, and really the British in general, are obsessed with tea and cake. Madeira Cake is an English classic. Apparently, it was once often served with madeira wine, which is where it got its name. It's quite simplistic in flavoring. There's a hint of lemon, but you wouldn't call it a lemon cake. It's buttery and sweet, making it the perfect vehicle for summer berries and fresh cream.
A lot of British cakes tend to be on the dry side, and this is definitely not as moist as an American pound cake. Dig around in your fridge for all your favorite jams, fruit curds, or fresh fruit. And don't forget a cup of tea or coffee. The whole thing feels very civilized somehow.
How to make Madeira Cake
We're going for a pretty basic creaming method here. Beat together butter and sugar until its light and fluffy, then work in some eggs. Add a little bit of your pre-measured and sifted dry ingredients (a combination of self-rising and all-purpose flour) after each egg to help make things smoother. Then beat in the lemon zest before adding the remaining dry ingredients, and finally the lemon juice.
Once your batter is smooth, transfer it to a lined loaf pan. This is a thick batter, so use a spatula to help you spread it to the edges, and tap the pan on the counter a few times to ease out any air bubbles. I like to use a butter knife to create an indentation down the center of the cake to help it cook more evenly. Sprinkle it with some sugar before popping it in the oven for about 45-50 minutes. Check it with a toothpick, but try not to overbake it to keep it moist. Then just let it cool and commence to topping and eating.
Madeira cake is not as sweet as pound cake and is usually a little bit dryer. My favorite pound cake recipes contain buttermilk, but this cake doesn't contain any additional liquid. So madeira cake is a bit lighter as well.
Make it magical
We've discussed all the individual ingredients of this recipe previously, so check the Kitchen Magick page for details.
Did you know that cake has a magical history all its own? Think about it, birthday cake, wedding cake... Any time we want to celebrate a major life achievement, there's gotta be a cake. Cake is a symbol of joy and happiness. It's a vehicle for intention setting and making wishes. Hello, birthday candles. Did you know that was a spell?
Wiccans have a tradition of cakes and ale in their ceremonies to symbolize grounding, communion, and offerings. Every cake you make can become a symbol of happiness and unity just in the simple act of sharing and enjoying it with the ones you love. (Source: Learn Religions)
Get in touch with your English side with a bit of Madeira Cake, some fresh berries, and a pot of tea. Even if you're all alone, its a celebration. It's gonna be awesome.Print
Madeira Cake is a simple, sweet loaf cake from Britain. It's just begging to be topped with fresh fruit or jam and plenty of sweetened whipped cream.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: British
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra for sprinkling
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 3 eggs
- 1-¾ cup self-rising flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) and spray or butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan, then line with parchment paper or a loaf pan liner.
- Sift together the two flours into a small bowl or onto some parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar. Beat it until it's light in color and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and beat to combine.
- Add in the eggs plus a spoonful of your flour mixture one at a time, beating to combine each egg before adding in another.
- Turn your mixer as low as it will go, and slowly mix in the remaining flour. Finally, add in the lemon juice and beat on low until just combined.
- Scoop your thick batter into your waiting pan and smooth it out a bit. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the top of your cake batter.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. The cake will be brown on the outside with a definite crust. Check it with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.
- Run a knife down the sides and use any overhang from your parchment paper to help you remove the cake to a wire rack to cool. Serve with jam and cream if you like.
Keywords: Cake, Loaf Cake
Recipe slightly adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson.
If you make this recipe, please leave a rating and comment to let me and other reades know how you got on. Thanks so much for your help. You're awesome.