I’m not a huge fan of Madeira cake – I’ve always found it to be rather dry and bland. However, when my friend asked for help in making a fondant-covered Mr Bump cake for her son’s first birthday cake, I knew that it had to be Madeira cake. We needed to make the cake on the Thursday for the party on the Saturday, which meant that the cake needed to last well and the cake needed to be covered in a decent layer of fondant icing. Sponge is too light and can collapse under heavy icing, and Madeira cake tends to last better as well.
Having never made Madeira cake, I decided that I needed to test some recipes in advance. This first recipe is adapted from the BBC Good Food’s Madeira Loaf Cake. When I baked it, I increased the quantities to a 5 egg recipe, however this was huge! Therefore, I have reduced the quantities below to make a 4 egg recipe, which should fit perfectly in a deep 20cm cake tin. I have also added the glycerine to this recipe as it was something suggested in the second Madeira cake recipe that I tried and I think it does help to maintain moisture in the cake.
In order to get a beautifully flat and evenly baked cake, I use my magi-cake strips: these are an investment but they make a huge difference! You soak them in water and then wrap them around the cake tin: this adds an extra layer therefore prevents the edge of the cake from cooking more quickly and drying out. It also prevents the cake from doming and so ensures a nice even top to your cake.
Unfortunately, I underestimated the length of time needed to bake my cake and opened the oven too many times! This meant that the cake ended up sunken in the middle. I managed to hide this under a thick layer of buttercream – as you can see from the picture, you would never know!
To cut cakes in half, I would hugely recommend a cake-cutting wire: this is a lot easier than trying to use a knife!
Overall, I wasn’t sure about this cake – EHH and I both felt that it was still a little dry. However, EHH took it into work and they loved it! Several of his colleagues claimed that it was the best cake that I have ever made!
Lemon and raspberry Madeira cake
- 235g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 235g golden caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- Grated zest 2 lemons
- Few drops vanilla extract
- 1 tsp glycerine
- 265g self-raising flour
- 65g ground almonds
- 110g butter, at room temperature
- 500g icing sugar, sifted
- 3 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
To fill and decorate:
- 6 tablespoons raspberry jam
- Mint leaves
- Pre-heat oven to 170C.
- Grease and base-line a 20cm deep round cake tin with baking parchment.
- Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy (about 5 minutes of beating).
- Beat the eggs together in a separate bowl.
- Beat the eggs into the butter/sugar mix, a little at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Mix in the lemon zest and vanilla.
- Fold 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.
- Tip the batter into the tin and smooth over the top.
- Bake for 75 – 100 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cover with foil after about 60 minutes to stop the top from burning.
- 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.
- While the cake is cooling, beat the butter, juice and half of the icing sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
- Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Once the cake is completely cool, cut in half.
- Cover one half with raspberry jam.
- Cover with the other half and then top with buttercream.
- Decorate with the raspberries and mint leaves.