Imagine, if you would, the disappointment I felt when I discovered that Madeira Cake isn't actually from Madeira*.
It would be on par with finding out that Nice biscuits aren't made in Nice and Whales aren't from Wales.
Putting aside my abject disappointment for one minute, this cake is made in honour of Dom from Belleau Kitchen's very first anniversary of his magnificant blogging challenge, Random Recipes. To celebrate Random Recipes being a whole year old, Dom has invited us to cast our mind (and our oven) back to the very first entry we made for the challenge and to choose a random recipe from that very same book. My very first entry involved vegetables in a cake (I've still not gotten over the shock) and pretending the cake was all part of the masterplan. It was none other than Nigella's Courgette Cake from How to Be a Domestic Goddess.
The random recipe thumb generator did its stuff again and this time round I got to make Madeira Cake. Which, if you ask me, is the under-rated cake of the baking world. In the Great Cake Family, unlike its cousins, say the glamour-puss, glossy cupcake or the majestic, magnificent, five tier gateau, the Madeira Cake is a bit...dull. If it were an Oscar category (note appropriate, timely reference to Current Affairs), it would be contender for, say, Best Documentary Short, rather than Best Actor.
Until you take a huge bite of the buttery, soft, crumbly cake. Lus-cccious
The original recipe can be found right here, on Nigella's website.
I adapted mine somewhat, with different ingredient measurements for the circular cake tin I was using:
175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
125g plain flour, sifted
125g self raising flour, sifted
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, beaten gently
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a deep 18cm round cake tin
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until nicely fluffy and pale (this may take up to five minutes), and add in the lemon zest
3. Add the eggs, a little at the time and beat well
4. Fold in the flours and lemon juice
5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean
- According to Nigella, a crack in the centre is a Good Thing
- James Martin adds a little candied peel on top, which looks ever so pretty
- If you haven't a lemon hanging around your kitchen, replace the lemon juice with 1tsp vanilla, and omit the zest
- Madeira Cake has multiple uses, two of which are a Wedding Cake or Lamingtons. How do you eat yours?
- Like a fine wine, or Oscar nominee Meryl Streep, this cake improves with time. It can be made up to a week in advance
- What cake should win Best
* Perhaps Madeira Cake comes from Barnet or Slough or someplace