After many requests from our workshop students, I am posting the Perfect Madeira Cake blog. Good luck and hope this helps you.
Before working at Lindy’s I had never made a Madeira cake. My first attempts weren’t great – they came out of the oven domed, very crispy on the outside and really dry. I had conquered the decorating but the cakes weren’t getting eaten! So Lindy set me a challenge – to create the perfect Madeira cake!
Well, it’s taken three attempts and I’ve cracked it. I used Lindy’s 20cm (8in) round Madeira recipe (see below).
Tips for Baking the Perfect Madeira Cake
Here are the extra tips Lindy has given me from her years of baking experience, plus a few of my own :
- Use real unsalted butter. Margarine and spreads have a too high water content.
- Make sure you take your butter and eggs out of the fridge so they can reach room temperature.
- Lindy’s Madeira should be cooked at 160°C but, as I have a fan oven, I turn it down 20 degrees to 140°C and place a bowl of water on the shelf. My oven has baking trays that slide directly into it so I put one tray in for the cake to sit on and place another tray above it giving enough room for the cake tin plus about three inches clearance. If you don’t have trays that slide in, just use the shelves and place a baking sheet under the cake and on the shelf above.
- Cream the butter and sugar until white. What I do is turn on the mixer and leave it to do it’s thing while I get on with the next stage. This will take about 5-10 minutes.
- Line the inside of the tin as usual and then line the outside of the tin with newspaper – I use lots – at least 5 pages, folded to just above the height of the tin and secured with tape or string. This means that the cake will cook slower around the outside and more evenly throughout so you do not end up with a dome in the middle.
- After I have added the eggs (each with a little flour to stop curdling) I then add the flavouring. Lindy’s recipe asks for the zest of two lemons. I love lemony flavours so I add the zest of four lemons and the juice of half a lemon (make sure you put a good spoonful of flour in with this to stop curdling). At this stage, you can add glycerine. You need ¼ teaspoon per egg. This helps to keep the cake moist. Add the remainder of the flour and gently fold in.
- When you spoon the mixture into the baking tin you need to scoop out the middle, so all the mixture is around the side of the cake tin and you can see the tin at the bottom (a bit like a ring doughnut!) Don’t be nervous and just make a small dip in the middle – you really need to scoop it up the sides of the tin.
- Put it in the oven and bake for 1½ hours. Check after this time with a skewer in the middle. If it comes out clean the cake is done. If not, depending on how much sticks to the skewer, give it 10 minutes more until the skewer comes out clean. My cakes take longer than the recipe states because of the newspaper and lower cooking temperature – usually, about 2-2¼ hours so don’t worry if it is still a bit “wobbly” at 1¾ hours. Just check every 10 minutes.
- Leave your cake in the tin to cool, then transfer to a cooling rack.
This should produce a firm but moist cake. Why not have a go! Jane
Lindy’s Perfect Madeira Cake Recipe
To bake a 20cm (8in) Madeira cake you will need:
350g (12oz) Unsalted Butter
350g (12oz) Caster Sugar
350g (12oz) Self Raising Flour
175g (6oz) Plain Flour
6 Large Eggs
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Grease and line the cake tin (pan) with baking parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light, fluffy and pale. Sift the flours together in a separate bowl.
- Beat the eggs into the creamed mixture, one at a time, following each with a spoonful of flour, to prevent the mixture curdling.
- Sift the remaining flour into the creamed mixture and fold in carefully with a large metal spoon.
- Transfer to the lined bakeware and bake, see above but everyone’s oven is different. When the cake is ready, it will have risen, be firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool then, leaving the lining paper on, wrap the cake in foil or place in an airtight container for at least 12 hours before cutting, to allow the cake to settle.
Different sized/shape tin? See our simple chart for changing quantities
To fill or not to fill?
Traditionally Madeira cakes are not filled. However, it is relatively easy to cut horizontal thin layers and add filling or buttercream. Certainly, if you like lemon, adding a lemon curd layer to a lemon Madeira cake makes it doubly tasty!
Tins for Baking your Perfect Madeira Cake
If you fancy having a go at baking the perfect Madeira cake, but don’t have the tins you need or want to try something new, take a look at our bakeware and baking section. At Lindy’s cakes, we stock more unusual shapes such as ball shapes tins, multi-mini tins, and multi-square tins. Visit our online shop to discover more.
The Lindy’s Cakes Team