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My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake

by . Featured in HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS
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Introduction

I don't know if I ever ate Madeira cake as a child, but just the sight of this golden-yellow loaf with its long crack down the middle makes me feel satisfactorily nostalgic. This recipe, given to me by my mother-in-law Carrie, is the best of any version I've tried. It's just one of those plain cakes you think you can't see the point of, until you start slicing and eating it.

I don't know if I ever ate Madeira cake as a child, but just the sight of this golden-yellow loaf with its long crack down the middle makes me feel satisfactorily nostalgic. This recipe, given to me by my mother-in-law Carrie, is the best of any version I've tried. It's just one of those plain cakes you think you can't see the point of, until you start slicing and eating it.

My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Makes: 8-10 slices

Metric Cups
  • 240 grams unsalted butter (softened)
  • 200 grams caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 210 grams self-raising flour
  • 90 grams plain flour
  • 17 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1⅓ cups self-raising flour
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour

Method

You will need a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7cm / 9 x 5 x 3 inches), buttered and lined.

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/150ºC Fan/gas mark 3/325ºF.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, and add the lemon zest.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each.
  4. Then gently mix in the rest of the flour and, finally, the lemon juice.
  5. Sprinkle with caster sugar (about 2 tablespoons should do it) as it goes into the oven, and bake for 1 hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
  6. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.

You will need a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7cm / 9 x 5 x 3 inches), buttered and lined.

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/150ºC Fan/gas mark 3/325ºF.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, and add the lemon zest.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each.
  4. Then gently mix in the rest of the flour and, finally, the lemon juice.
  5. Sprinkle with superfine sugar (about 2 tablespoons should do it) as it goes into the oven, and bake for 1 hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
  6. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.

Additional Information

I love a good old-fashioned seed cake; if you do too, add a couple of teaspoons of caraway to this mixture. For a lemon poppyseed cake, add the juice of another half lemon and a tablespoon or two of poppyseeds. And if you come by any dried strawberries, you can up the liquid to the juice of 2 lemons and fold in 100g of dried strawberries.

I love a good old-fashioned seed cake; if you do too, add a couple of teaspoons of caraway to this mixture. For a lemon poppyseed cake, add the juice of another half lemon and a tablespoon or two of poppyseeds. And if you come by any dried strawberries, you can up the liquid to the juice of 2 lemons and fold in 100g of dried strawberries.

Tell us what you think

What 26 Others have said

  • Made it today, delicious!!! Nice and crumbly outside and soft but not soggy inside. Simple ingredients,easy to make. Next time I will add some dried cherries or cranberries .Thank you Nigella! Another great recipe.

    Posted by jalebailey on 10th August 2019
  • I brought this cake to work and all my co-workers gushed over how good it was. Cake turns out wonderfully crispy on the outside and the use of butter gives it a rich taste. Simple ingredients, superior taste.

    Posted by ursula.marie on 18th July 2019
  • Best cake ever. It is so wonderfully crumbly and delicious. My go-to dessert from now on. Thank you, Nigella!

    Posted by Didoung on 23rd June 2019
  • What a coincidence, I have this in the oven and thought I'd check my emails while it's baking and lo and behold there was this recipe! It's my favourite go to simple delicious cake. Everyone loves it. I've been making since Domestic Goddess appeared.

    Posted by Paula Dunne on 10th April 2019
  • Oh, my. That was wonderful. I added just a spoon full of dried cherries/cranberries/raisins soaked in a tablespoon of port, but otherwise just followed the recipe. SO good.

    Posted by Meann on 15th October 2018
  • Thank you for the recipe. It was one of my Mother's staple cake recipes along with Tea Brac.

    Posted by Green8gage on 10th December 2016
  • I hadn't heard of Madeira cake until I saw The Lady in the Van. I searched for it online and found this recipe. Just made it and it's wonderful.

    Posted by ritaink on 20th March 2016
  • Made this cake three times and it is now a firm favourite. Very easy to make , very tasty and very popular!

    Posted by francesedith on 19th January 2016
  • I made this cake for a wedding cake I was doing & its fabulous!! doubled the recipe & it turned out to make just a tad over mixture for an 8" round tin. Rose beautifully & tastes amazing as I sampled the top that I trimmed off........I will always turn to Nigella for recipe's I don't have as they never fail me.

    Posted by clairebear13 on 10th September 2015
  • I made this for my grandfather's birthday and it was spot on. Its an easy recipe and really tasty. Everybody enjoyed this one a lot. Thanks Nigella!

    Posted by bakinglovesemma on 6th September 2015
  • A satisfying and beautifully simple cake. A slice with a cup of tea or coffee is delicious. With a glass of wine, even better.

    Posted by Haushislop on 25th August 2015
  • I love this cake and my friends and family always beg me to make it,I've always had to cook it about 25 minutes longer than a hour though

    Posted by Chelle bell on 7th August 2015
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