Rich Madeira cake


Now is the perfect time to make a Madeira cake, with New Zealand navel oranges being at their best and cheapest. Here’s Lois’ preface to her Madeira cake recipe:

‘But beware. The great British baker Maria Floris had this to say about Madeira cake. Unless well made, it is the dullest cake you could possibly eat’. The butter, sugar, and eggs all need to be warm room temperature before you start, and it is best to use an electric beater. This type of cake is too buttery to eat warm, and is at its best when cut into thin slices a day or two after baking.’

Rich Madeira cake (Lois Daish, Listener, September 11, 2004)

250g butter, softened (add 1/4 teaspoon salt if you are using unsalted butter)

250g caster sugar

finely grated zest one large navel orange or lemon

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

250g standard flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons caster sugar

Line the base and sides of a deep, round 18cm cake tin with paper, making sure that the paper extends a little above the top of the tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C (not fan-bake). Using an electric beater, cream butter and sugar until very pale and soft. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Beat into the mixture with the milk, stirring just long enough to thoroughly amalgamate the ingredients. Scoop into the cake tin, flatten the top and sprinkle with caster sugar. Place in the oven (Lois suggests using a shelf closer to the bottom of the oven). Bake for about an hour until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes away clean. Cool in the tin for ten minutes below turning out onto a rack.



  1. I’m going to make this for my Dad’s birthday this year, he loved Madeira cake. Thanks for your lovely blog, I am a huge Lois Daish fan and found it while googling her bacon hock soup recipes!



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