Madeira loaf cake

Madeira loaf cake

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(108 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


  • 175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs



    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…

  • 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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10th Jan, 2014
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
5th May, 2015
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!
15th Dec, 2013
Nice easy cake that everyone liked. Mine took 10 mins more than suggested and I've got a fan oven.
24th Sep, 2013
I made this cake yesterday and it was delicious! I can't stop eating! It is the definition of cake!
25th May, 2013
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!
5th May, 2013
Easy and delicious; my kind of baking.
30th Apr, 2013
Yummy little family including myself have a very sweet I squeezed some lemon juice and added it to icing sugar to Make a lovely zingy frosting on the cake and grated on some extra lemon zest to finish! So so so good!
25th Apr, 2013
I made this cake yesterday, and added coconut instead of the ground almonds, and added some cherries, I baked it in a round cake tin, then I iced it with plain icing and sprinkled with coconut, it went down a treat and all my friends asked for the recipe.
22nd Sep, 2013
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. :)
24th Sep, 2015
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!)


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