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.
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.
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.
- 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)
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.