Madeira Cake

Do you have those moments where a craving strikes you out of the blue.  And you need to have it now or the end of the world will happen.

Ok, well, *cough, cough* NOT the END of the world.  But, it does come close.

It happened to me on Saturday.  I was sitting pretty, reading this book (which by the way, if you have not read it yet – you best get cracking, because its AWESOME) when suddenly I wanted needed something sweet.

But, I did not want ice cream, or a piece of Baci, or a spoonful of nutella.

My usual go-to “kill the craving” options.

At first I thought I was sick.

But then I closed my eyes to visualize what I really wanted and an image appeared out of nowhere.

I wanted cake.

My visual cake was not a complicated cake either – I was not in the mood for frosting or fillings.  I wanted something simple, and rich.

I wanted my nonna’s go to cake.

For years I would make this and it was named Nonna’s Bizcocho.  Then I realized that it had a name – Madeira Cake. 

This cake originated in England and not as the name suggests in Madeira (Portugal).  The name rather was bestowed in reference to the alcohol of that region- with Madeira Wine being the traditional accompaniment to this cake.

When I found this little fact, I totally understood my nonno (grandfather) imperative reason to have a glass of wine when my nonna would serve him a piece - It just works.

Unfortunately, the visualization did not invoked the baker I needed in my kitchen to make the cake.

Oh well - you win some, you lose some.

So, I got off my butt and into the kitchen I went to prep and get this done.


  • 180 grams self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 grams almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 180 grams sugar
  • 180 grams softened butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 eggs,
  • 1 lime, zest and juiced

Preheat the oven to 325°F

Sift the flour together in a separate bowl along with the baking powder.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light, fluffy and pale (mine took about 5-8 minutes to get to this point using my KA mixer).

Sift the flour together in a separate bowl along with the baking powder

Beat the eggs into the creamed mixture, one at a time, following each with a spoonful of flour, to prevent the mixture curdling.

Add the remaining almond flour into the creamed mixture and fold in carefully with a large metal spoon.

If the mix seems a bit too hard then add a little milk, a tablespoon at a time. Variations occur due to differences in egg sizes and the absorbency of the flour. It needs to have a drop-able consistency.

Transfer to the loaf pan, sprinkle some sugar on top and bake, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  When the cake is ready it will be well risen, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center will come out clean.

Put the cake on a wire rack and leave for 15 minutes to cool. Then remove the cake from the baking pan and sprinkle generously with caster sugar. Leave to cool. Madeira cake tastes best if not eaten on the day of cooking, so when cold, tightly wrap in foil and leave for a day or two.

This cake will not win you any acclaim or accolades for design or difficulty.  It’s just one of those plain cakes you think you can’t see the point of, until you start slicing and eating it. It will however, provide a lovely treat for morning or afternoon tea or a moment of visualization and craving.