Saturday, 30 August 2014

My Favourite Madeira Cake

Sometimes simple is best. Classic buttery crumbed cake spruced up with nothing more than a favourite pretty tin and maybe a breath of icing sugar. Enter Madeira Cake. 

I've been posting a lot of bordering on over the top recipes recently. Not content with a simple Rice Krispie treat I added peanut butter and white chocolate. No courgette loaf will ever acceptable in our house without added cocoa and two lots of chocolate chunks. To my certain glee, courgettes can also be hidden in Nutella Stuffed Brownies and if they aren't devilishly chocolatey enough there is always my Overloaded Brownies. And yet there will always, always be a place in my heart for Madeira cake.

We've actually been here before. Almost a year ago I set out to find my ideal Madeira cake recipe after getting fed up with there not being a definitive one. Some used ground almonds, some used lemon zest, some extra flour, some whacking great wedges of candied citrus peel on top. I wasn't having it. Despite trying many of them over the years none came close to the M&S Madeira that Mum and I used to pick up on our shopping trips into town. Yes, a shop bought cake was more enjoyable than homemade. 

Until now.

This, for me, is it. My ideal Madeira cake recipe. The conclusion to the Madeira Cake Story if you will. A simple creaming method utilises every bit of patience a baker can give to capture as much air as possible to create a mixture that is on the point of becomming a mousse before it is baked into a crumb of feathery silk. Fresh from the oven fragility transforms to a beautiful suppleness by the time it reaches the tea table.

Sometimes all it takes is the most basic of ingredients to make something of the highest quality. Take them separately they are nothing. Take them together and they are fit to rule. Butter equates to elegance alongside the high class company of ground almonds and a hint of freshness of the lemon zest. The soft baked crust and golden hue underneath queitly, but confidently, declare that this is a cake to be enjoyed unadulterated.

No cream, no sprinkles and for probably the only time I will say this, no chocolate. Tea is the only accompaniment necessary. See? I can do traditional. Not plain and simple though. A good Madeira is anything but.


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My Favourite Madeira Cake
A true English classic. Soft buttery crumb kept moist by ground almonds, with a hint of lemon zest in this golden hued cake.
Ingredients
  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • Splash of milk
  • Icing sugar to dust (optional)
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and grease and flour a bundt tin, making sure it reaches into all the shapes (melted butter is best for this). Alternatively line a 8" round, deep cake tin withbaking paper.2. Beat the softened butter until pale and creamy then beat in the caster sugar. Continue to cream the butter and sugar on high speed until very light and fluffy in texture, scraping down the sides periodically. Mix in the lemon zest.3. In a jug whisk the eggs and almond extract then mix in spoonful dribble at a time, thoroughly mixing in between additions. The more gradually you add the eggs, the less likely the mixture is to curdle and the more air incorporated. If it does threaten to curdle, mix in a spoonful of the measured flour.4. Sift and fold in the flour, baking powder and ground almonds in two batches using a metal spoon or spatula. Be gentle but thorough. Fold in a splash of milk to get a soft dropping consistency.5. Pour into the cake tin, smooth the top and make a small dip in the centre (or a channel in a bundt tin) with the back of a spoon to help the cake rise more evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 mins until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin on a wire rack for half an hour or so then gently turn out and cool completely. Dust with icing sugar if you wish.

I'm linking my Madeira cake recipe to Lucy's CookBlogShare party for all types of baking over at Supergolden Bakes.

21 comments:

  1. A stunning looking bundt, it has turned out the tin beautifully. Great looking crumb too.

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  2. Looks perfect and definitely fit for that beautiful bundt tin! What's the reason for dip or channel in the centre of the batter before you bake? I'm intrigued!

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    1. Oops, sorry I should have put that in the recipe. I'll update it when I get on a computer again. It's to reduce the peak that quite often forms when the cake bakes, so the top, or in the case of a bundt cake, the bottom is flatter when you turn it out. You only need a shallow dip but it really helps. It's a technique used when making fruit cakes a lot too.

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    2. Thanks Laura. That makes logical sense now!!

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  3. Looks delicious. What a beautiful mould. Love the idea of adding a touch of almond too. The eggs seem to be missing from the ingredients list though. How many are required?

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  4. Argh, what's wrong with me this time?! Thanks for pointing it out, it should say three eggs. I'll correct it now.

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  5. Fabulous looking cake!!
    I'd looooooooove a huge slice to eat :)

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  6. Wow this cake looks amazing! I love the shape that it creates! Yummy :-) Stopping by from savoring Sundays!
    Cathy @ three kids and a fish

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  7. Wow that looks so gorgeous! I love a simple cake sometimes it's the best thing to serve and it doesn't take days to make (cough, Baked Alaska, cough). Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare!

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    1. Thank you! Your baked Alaska might have taken longer to make but it looked so pretty and inviting =)

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  8. It does look stunning, what a pretty bundt! I quite agree that simple is better, in fact I would usually choose a plain sponge over anything else!

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    1. Im going through a patch of thinking the same. For some reason I keep wanting to bake plainer, simpler cakes or slight variations of ones I've already had success with. I'm finding it more fun =)

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  9. What a beautiful tin - the cake is like a piece of engineering. Lovely-looking recipe too....when it comes to sponges, something simple and just-out-of-the-oven is the dream!

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    1. I totally agree. It adds to the element of relaxation I think.

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  10. I love madeira cake and like you say it needs no other accompaniment. This has been the most view entry over at Sweet and Savoury Sunday. Stop by, grab a button and be sure to link up with us again!

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