Let's bake a delightful Loaf Tin Madeira Cake! This classic British treat is a staple for any afternoon tea and is easier to make than you might think. It has a light yet dense texture, hinting of citrus from the added lemon zest.
This easy madeira cake recipe is perfect to make for those cosy catch-ups with friends or to indulge yourself on a lazy afternoon. It is also known to be served with a cup of tea at breakfast. So put on your apron, and let's get baking!
How to Make a Madeira Cake
This video slideshow will guide you through every step, making this great recipe for madeira loaf as simple as possible.
Continue reading below for all the ingredients, equipment and instructions.Or jump straight to the printable recipe card
Let's start with the ingredients needed to create this madeira cake recipe.
Caster sugar is used to sweeten the cake. Its fine grains allow it to dissolve quickly during mixing, ensuring the sweetness is evenly distributed throughout the cake.
Granulated sugar is a good substitute if you don't have caster sugar. Creaming the butter and sugar together will take a little longer.
Butter adds richness and moisture to the cake. It also aids in browning the cake's crust, giving it that delightful golden crust.
I always use unsalted butter for baking cakes, then add salt to taste. Salted butter salt content differs between brands, so harder to control the amount of salt added.
Self-raising flour is essential for giving your Madeira cake its signature light and fluffy texture. It contains a raising agent which causes the dough to rise, creating a lovely, airy crumb.
Substitute - Plain Flour
If you can't find self-raising flour, substitute it with plain flour and mix in baking powder to make self-raising flour. You should add one flat teaspoon for each 100g of plain flour and a tiny pinch of salt. So add 2 ½ flat teaspoons of baking powder to this loaf tin Madeira cake recipe.
Eggs bind the ingredients together and contribute to the cake's structure. We have used medium eggs in this recipe.
The traditional Madeira cake will contain just lemon zest. We also like to add lemon juice, which adds even more of a citrus note to the sponge cake.
You could use one or the other. Or you could use a lemon extract instead. If you don't have lemons, lime or orange zest/juice is an excellent substitute, offering a slightly different but equally delightful citrus tang for a good madeira cake.
Salt enhances the flavours in the cake and balances out the sweetness from the sugar. Just a pinch will do.
Vanilla extract is optional to add a subtle warmth and aromatic flavour to the cake. You can use vanilla essence if you don't have vanilla extract, but the taste won't be as strong.
You'll need a few essential pieces of equipment for this delightful Loaf Tin Madeira Cake.
An electric cake mixer or a hand whisk will be handy to mix the ingredients thoroughly, and you'll need a large mixing bowl to hold everything.
Let's go through how to bake this Madeira Loaf Cake together! Our recipe is simple, delicious, and perfect for any occasion.Jump to the recipe card for printable advice.
Start by bringing 175 grams of butter and four eggs to room temperature. Cut the butter into cubes, measure your other ingredients.
While your ingredients come to room temperature, preheat your oven to 170℃ (fan setting), 190℃, 375℉, or Gas Mark 5.
It is best to sieve the 250 grams of self-raising flour to remove any lumps and add a pinch of salt to the flour.
Now, wash and dry one whole lemon. Zest the skin with a fine grater, avoiding the bitter white pith. If you want to add more of a lemon flavour, cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice, too.
Next, prepare your loaf tin. Place the cake tin on top of a sheet of parchment paper and cut away the four corners touching the base.
Don't worry too much if the baking paper isn't staying put in the tin. You can secure the paper inside the loaf tin with a dab of butter or wait until the cake batter gets added to weigh it down.
Add 175 grams of cubed butter and 175 grams of caster sugar in your mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed using the flat beater attachment until well combined and smooth.
Reduce the stand mixer speed to slow. Add four eggs, one at a time, followed by a large spoonful of the previously measured and sieved self-raising flour after each egg. This step prevents curdling.
Once all the eggs are incorporated, remove the mixer bowl.
Add one teaspoon of vanilla extract, your lemon zest, and lemon juice using a spatula or spoon to fold it in.
Then, gently fold in the remaining flour until just combined. Remember not to overmix!
Gently transfer the cake batter to the prepared tin.
Cooking Time and Temperature
Pour your cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and slide it into your preheated oven (170℃ , 190℃, 375℉, or Gas Mark 5). Bake for about 40-50 minutes, keeping an eye on the top.
Cover it with a sheet of parchment paper if it's browning too quickly towards the last 15 minutes.
To check if your cake is ready, insert a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, your cake is perfectly baked!
Let your cake rest in the tin on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. It's too hot and soft to handle immediately after baking.
After this cooling period, gently lift the cake out of the tin using the edges of the parchment paper. Peel off the paper and let the madeira cake cool completely on the wire rack.
Once fully cooled, slice up your madeira loaf cake and serve! It pairs perfectly with a cup of tea and good company.
Enjoy your homemade loaf tin Madeira Cake.
While your madeira cake is delightful on its own, you could also dress it up for a more indulgent treat. One of our favourite ways is to drizzle it with our scrumptious Salted Caramel Sauce.
📖 Step by Step Recipe
Madeira Cake - Loaf Tin Recipe
- 175 grams Caster Sugar
- 175 grams Butter bring to room temperature
- 4 Eggs
- 250 grams Self-Raising Flour
- pinch of Salt
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Lemon
- Remove butter and eggs from the fridge to bring to room temperature. Cut 175 grams Butter into cubes. Measure out the other ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 170℃ fan/190℃/375℉/Gas Mark 5.Prepare the loaf tin by placing a strip of parchment paper down. Place tin on top and cut away the four corners that are touching the base of the tin.
- Add a dap of butter to the loaf tin to help hold the paper to the tin. Once the cake mixture is added it helps too.
- Wash and dry 1 Lemon now zest the outer layer using a zester or fine grater, avoiding the bitter white pith. After zesting, cut the lemon in half to squeeze out the juice (adding lemon juice is optional).
- Sieve 250 grams Self-Raising Flour into a bowl to remove any lumps, stir in a pinch of Salt with the flour. Set aside to add to the cake mixture later.
- Cut the 175 grams Butter into cubes and add to 175 grams Caster Sugar into the cake mixer bowl.
- Mix using a flat beater attachment on medium speed, until creamed together. The key here is patience; don't stop mixing together until well combined and smooth.
- Lower the speed on the mixer to slow, add the 4 Eggs ONE at a time.
- After each egg add a large spoonful of flour (from the flour you sieved and measured earlier). This stops the mixture from curdling. Once all the eggs have been added remove the bowl from the mixer.
- Use a spatula or spoon to fold in the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice
- Add the remaining flour to the mixture.
- Gently fold using a spoon.
- Until the flour has just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared lined loaf tin.
- Bake in the oven (preheated to 170℃ fan/190℃/375℉/Gas Mark 5) for 40-50 minutes.
- Keep an eye on the top if browning too much on top towards the last 15 minutes, add a sheet of parchment paper on top.
- Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the middle. It is cooked if it comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest at room temperature in the tin on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. It is too hot and soft to remove at this point.
- After 10 minutes, gently lift it out from the cake tin using the edges of the parchment paper. Then, carefully peel off the paper and let the cake continue to cool on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, slice and serve!
- Perfect with a cup of tea!
Store madeira cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Make sure to wrap it tightly in cling film and foil before freezing.
Allow the cake to thaw completely before unwrapping and serving for best results.
History of Madeira Cake
"Madeira Cake" is two distinct cakes in British and Portuguese culinary traditions. The British Madeira cake, as posted in this blog post, is a lemon zest-flavoured, dense but light texture sponge cake named after madeira wine, a fortified Portuguese wine popular in 19th century England and often served with the cake during afternoon tea.
It is now more commonly served with a cup of tea in England.
Conversely, the Portuguese Madeira cake is a rich fruitcake with an even denser texture. Made with Madeira sugar cane honey, ground almonds, and crystallised fruits from Portugal's Madeira Islands, typically enjoyed around Christmas. Although they share a name, these cakes differ significantly in taste, texture, and ingredients, each reflecting their unique culinary heritage.
Madeira Cake Variations
Mastered the basic traditionally flavoured madeira cake? You can become a domestic goddess and experiment with other varieties.
For an extra citrus kick, make a simple lemon glaze to drizzle over the top of your madeira cake.
Mix together icing sugar with a small amount of lemon juice until you achieve a smooth, runny consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cake before slicing.
Cherry Madeira Cake
To transform your classic Madeira Cake into a delightful Cherry Madeira Cake, consider incorporating chopped glacé cherries into your recipe. Fold these into the cake batter along with the final portion of flour. Perfect for those who enjoy a fruity twist to their cakes!
More British Baking Recipes
Love British recipes? We have plenty of other British baking recipes you may enjoy.