Madeira Cake Anyone…

Am I the only one that is late coming to The Great British Baking Show? I had been hearing people talk about it for about 6 months, but just didn’t take the time to check it out. Which is crazy in itself, because I love to bake, and this show is completely about baking. A few weeks ago, I went to Netflix, watched 1 episode and have been hooked. I’m not able to binge like most people because I live with people who liked to watch tv with me and unfortunately, they are not a fan of the show.

Anyway, watching this show has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and make somethings that I have not tried before. For example, I’m going to try my hand at making some homemade crackers, making ice cream out of coconut milk, Opera cake – had never heard of it, but saw it and now I gotta make it, and I’m going to go back to making Trifles in the spring and summer. All these types of cakes, pies, tortes, trifles, and such had me attempting something new last weekend. Madeira Cake. A Madeira cake is defined as a cake with a firm yet light texture. It is eaten with tea or (occasionally) for breakfast and is traditionally flavored with lemon. I love lemon, so this seemed like this would “pop my panties”.


I remembered a few things from the episode of British Baking Show where the Madeira cake was made.

1) the cake should have a dome shape with a crack,

2) there should be candied fruit on the top that is crisp, and

3) the cake should be light, but dense

I made this cake based on a recipe that I found online, but decided to make mine a lemon poppy seed version, because I had sad earlier in the week that I was going to make a lemon poppy seed cake for the weekend.


I took a page from the show and measured my dry ingredients.  One of the ingredients that the recipe called for was castor sugar.  Castor sugar is a superfine version of regular sugar  that does not go as far as confectioner’s (or powdered) sugar.  I decided to pulse my sugar in my mini chopper to get a finer grain for this cake.  Caster sugar is supposed to be easier to emulsify with the butter.


I didn’t candy as many lemon slices as the recipe called for because I knew my family wouldn’t eat it.


But I wanted to attempt candying my fruit, so I know how for a future food project to make sure that I can do it the way that Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood said it needs to be done.

Did the final product have the three aforementioned requirements?


It did have a slight dome and a crack on the top. My candied lemons were not super crisp, they had potential, but when I dropped them on a plate, they did not “clink”. The texture of the cake was dense, but light. I can’t explain that better than to say it was dense but light.


The lemon flavor is very pronounced, but not in a tart way, it taste almost like P2110037the lemon smells. I wonder if that is because the syrup that was used to candy the lemon slices was brushed over the cake. I enjoyed the cake and will make it again. I want to branch out and make different flavors and also make the cake without the poppy seeds to see if the poppy seeds had anything to do with the denseness of the cake.

Have you made a Madeira cake? Have you tasted a Madeira cake? Comment below to tell me what about it.

Until next time,



1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup castor sugar (225 g)

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 ½ cups flour (300 g)

2 ½ tsp baking powder

Zest and juice of 1 ½ lemons

3 tbsp poppy seeds

Candied lemon ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 lemons sliced ~1/8-inch thick

Preheat oven to 350o. Prepare loaf pan. Combine and whisk flour, poppy seeds, and baking powder and put to the side. Cream butter, lemon zest, and sugar on medium high until it is light and fluffy, ~3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, adding 1 tbsp of flour mixture after each egg addition. Fold in remaining flour and then lemon juice.

Transfer batter to pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick (cake tester) comes out clean. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and complete cooling process on wire rack.


Combine sugar and water. Bring it to a boil, then add lemons in single layer. Cook for 15 minutes, flipping half-way through. Remove from simple syrup and place on parchment lined baking sheet to allow them to dry.

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