Madeira loaf cake

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr


Cuts into 8 slices
A classic English sponge cake, delicately flavoured with lemon and almond - perfect for afternoon tea

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal397
  • fat23.6g
  • saturates12.3g
  • carbs39.5g
  • sugars22.6g
  • fibre1.4g
  • protein6.3g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • grated zest 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • few drops vanilla extract
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almond


  1. 1 Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Butter and line the base of a 900g loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Using an electric whisk, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the lemon zest and vanilla. Now beat in the flour and almonds until you have a thick batter. The batter should be loose enough that it falls off a wooden spoon, if it’s too thick mix in a splash of milk.

  2. Tip the batter into the tin and smooth over the top. Bake for 55 mins – 1hr until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven then leave to cool for 15 mins then remove from the tin, peel away the paper and leave on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. The loaf will keep in an airtight container for three days.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (52)

Gina2's picture

Tasty! The only addition I made - I sprinkled batter with sliced almonds before putting it into the oven.

Zun's picture

Very easy and reliable recipe.
Cake came out exactly as the picture shows.

mummyloves's picture

I love baking but I do not always want anything to sweet ie with cream with chocolate etc so I made this Madeira cake -it is absolutely delicious. Its perfect with a cup of tea- not to sickly sweet it has a beautiful buttery lemon flavour& a wonderful soft texture. This shall be a regular bake. Thank you 5 star recipe

stacey.louise's picture

My first time making a Maderia cake. It was really easy and the results were great. I had to add a couple of drops of milk as my mixture wasn't dropping off the spoon at all. I also had to leave out the lemon due to allergies but this hasn't seemed to effect anything, it's still yummy! I checked the cake at about 45 minutes and my knife came out clean so I took it out and it is a nice and moist. I would make this again in the future.

allielovetocook's picture

Lovely, easy, and light recipe with a lovely mild Lemon flavour. It wasn't as buttery tasting as I'd expected and although the batter dropped off a wooden spoon perfectly, and was given the allotted 55 mins in the oven, I found the cake a bit drier than I'd like. My hubby loves it though and I will be happy to fiddle with oven timings (think I'll try 45 mins next time) or maybe add a drop of milk to the recipe to try and perfect the cake in the future.

peppi2016's picture

this was very easy to make - mine was done in 30 minutes though

Barneys baking's picture

Just made this.. Wow! it looks exactly like a bought one. I'm so proud,, tastes AMAZING. I only made a 1lb loaf as it was the only tin I had, but I'm going to buy a 2lb tin & do another one. Delicious with a latte at lunchtime :-)

Pixietigerlily's picture

Totally delicious and really easy to make, my best madeira cake to date. Thanks for posting the recipie, Barney!

bandcamper's picture

Inspired by Great British Bake Off I decided to give Madeira cake a try. Very easy recipe, and delicious result. I cooked it for 70 minutes in total (in fan assisted oven at 150C) and it was just perfect. Demolished in minutes by my husband and children, will definitely be making it again.

NinaKaye's picture

An absolutely lovely cake and so easy to make.

vintagemunchkin's picture

So delighted with this! Was moist, dense and delicious, wih just the right amount of lemon. My fella put away 3 doorstops in one sitting. It rose beautifully and looked v impressive! Will definitely make again...

Looney76's picture

This is the first madeira cake I have made and it turned out perfectly. I have made it in a square tin and baked for less. Going to make another one to make another layer to sandwich together as its for a birthday cake. Perfect taste and I lovely moist texture. Thanks for the great recipe :) xx

Frantic Flapjack's picture

Easy to make. Mine took about 10 minutes more than the recipe stated. Tastes lovely and keeps well.

burlesquecakegrl's picture

I only made thus cake to use as a base for an apple & ginger Queen of Puddings !
I'd only ever had shop-bought Madeira cake before, & was never impressed. Always thought of it as dry & a bit bland, the sort of thing your granny would serve up during a boring visit !
But my goodness am I converted ! This cake is simple to make & absolutely GORGEOUS !!! Light, moist & with a fantastically delicate flavour. A real English afternoon tea classic.
By the way, I managed to grab just enough of it to make that Queen of Puddings...Thanks so much for this fab recipe Barney. Just about to make another one right now.
Will be using slightly less lemon zest - perhaps half a lemon this time - at the request of my husband, who thinks it's (quote) "a bit too lemony" !!

vintagemunchkin's picture

I totally agree! I thought I'd have a go at it, but was worried I'd end up with some dusty loaf! In actual fact it was deliciousness personified. My boyfriend devoured 3 doorsteps in one sitting!

jimiskewl's picture

Nice easy cake that everyone liked. Mine took 10 mins more than suggested and I've got a fan oven.

KonstantinaK's picture

I made this cake yesterday and it was delicious! I can't stop eating! It is the definition of cake!

cathbellamy's picture

This is outstanding. I used really good quality butter and duck eggs to make it really special and added the juice of 1/2 a lemon. It needed about 10 mins more cooking than suggested. Really good. Yum!


Questions (2)

nannysandra's picture

do you think this could be baked used a brownie tin tray and how long would I bake it for?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi nannysandra thanks for your question. That really depends on the dimensions of the tin - but, assuming your tin is shallower it would be a good idea to reduce the temperature check it after the first 20 mins. We haven't tested baking this recipe in a shallower tin so we cannot guarantee perfect results, do let us know how you get on.

Tips (2)

nikki56's picture

Could the people who maintain this website please add a way of adding, changing ingredients, or adding comments on my saved recipe.

nikki56's picture

I used coconut instead of almonds and added 10g of dried pineapple soaked in Malibu.