Madeira loaf cake

Madeira loaf cake

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(44 ratings)

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 (49)

vix-stix's picture

Please can you tell me your secret for your cherries not sinking. I've tried & tried, but every time my cherries make a layer at the bottom of the cake. Thank you. :)

jules878's picture

When I was very young child my mother taught me to make fruit cakes, and I spent many afternoons at elderly relatives houses making said item for them. (Evidently this was good way of getting rid of very precocious child for protracted periods of time!)

I was taught that to prevent one's Glacé Cherries one should...
a) rinse them - to get sticky gunk off under tap (the sticky gunk helps them to sink!), and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper/tea towel;
b) quarter them;
c) dust them in flour.

Then your (quartered and dusted) cherries will equally distributed throughout. No sinking.

Although precocious I've always followed these instructions and never been disappointed. Never tried with whole cherries (I really should rebel one day), but I guess following (a) and (c) would be the way to go, and see how this works?

Good luck! (And let me know how it goes!)

tanyahetherton's picture

made this madiera cake the other day it was just fabby doo da

lolster's picture

Just made this - didn't have lemon so just left it out, and had to use a third baking spread as I ran out of butter. Oh and I only had medium eggs! It is DELICIOUS! Will definitely make again with proper ingredients. Great recipe.

sadieloumc's picture

Lovely taste and texture, v easy, nicer than I expected!

cookie5957's picture

Just made this cake in a 7inch square tin and it took 55 mins to cook at gas mark 3. It was perfect....lovely flavours and so moist. Going to make another one to take into work.

alistairx1's picture

Very good recipe. It turns out perfect each time. Try orange instead of lemon and equally delicious.

abikinsey's picture

Never Made Madeira Cake, needed a good excuse to make one, this was simple (I did use my food processor) and found it moist, subtle flavour & texture, perfect... Agreed, looks just like the picture, happy faces :-)

ginny13's picture

Excellent recipe very light all the family enjoyed it

chefjulielee's picture

Never made madeira cake and decided to make it on mother's request. It was really gorgeous and was so moreish! it was gone in half day. Came out fluffy and came out just like the picture. yum!

jazziholt's picture

So easy to make. I change the lemon zest for orange zest and was delightful with a cup of afternoon tea.

minners1's picture

I also had to add some milk. Mine's just come out the oven, looking good so far, and if the bowl licking is anything to go by I can't wait :)

raayan's picture

Nice fluffy cake ..... wonderful recipe .... easy to cook ..... thk u v much

toritaylor76's picture

Made this cake yesterday - really delighted with the result, going to make another today as my family demolished it in seconds! We all agreed that whilst lovely and subtle - the lemon flavor could be ramped up a bit so planning to add a little fresh squeezed lemon juice as well as the rind of the lemon to the cake mixture this next time. Still - it was delicious, very pleased indeed :-)

bekkah42's picture

Just waiting for my cake to cool down. I was really impressed by the result. I needed to add a splash of milk to mine as I thought it was a little too thick. I also cooked mine in a 7" square cake tin and it cooked nicely. It needed an extra 15 mins to what was stated for the round cake suggestion.

I will definitely be amking this again. Especially if it tastes as good as it looks! :)

magicmushroom's picture

Wow - I just took this out the over about an hour ago and my husband has demolished half of it already! I made it into a lemon drizzle cake by mixing lemon juice and icing sugar, pricking some holes in the cake with a fork and then pouring the lemon icing over. It's divine. The cake is moist and tastes beautiful. I used the zest of 2 small lemons, I might add a little more next time as it's quite subtle. This is a fantastic recipe and so easy to make. YUM!!

lisajo29's picture

I found this cake had nice flavours especially from the ground almonds, however it seemed a little dry. I've checked a few other recipes and these have sunflower oil in them, which presumably makes it more moist. Not one I will be making again.

minicoopergirl's picture

I have not made this particular recipe, but made Mary Berry's version, not much difference in measurements of ingredients. My cake was done in 30mins, notice the time of this cake is nearly an hour, my cake came out very hard on top, is tis meant to be like this? want to do this version but if its going to come out the same a bit reluctant to do, cant get my head around this one and it seems so easy too? any advice anyone please!

catrionakitson's picture

This is a lovely cake, I always try Barney's recipes and up to press have not been disappointed! Just the right amount of lemon and so light and moist - delicious! Thank you Barney!

gingernut15's picture

Has anyone tried making this in two smaller loaf tins?Think I,ll give it a try next time


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