How to make lemon Madeira cake

Week one! First recipe: Madeira cake.

I had never even heard of this before seeing it on Bake Off, but Madeira cake is a dense sponge cake that’s commonly flavored with lemon zest (or other citrus flavor) and topped with a slice of peel.

I love lemon anything so I was excited for this one.

Overall it went well, though I think I should have taken it out a few minutes sooner since I used a larger tin. Because there’s no liquid, this is a dense cake with more of a dry, cornbread consistency than cakes you may be used to. (See the end of this post for more lessons learned!)

Check out my how-to video, and if you try baking this cake using the recipe below, let me know how it turns out in the comments!


  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Bake time: 60+ minutes
  • Makes: One 7 inch cake
  • Difficulty: Easy


Note: Weigh ingredients for greatest accuracy, or convert the measurements if you don’t have a food scale.

  • 6 oz softened butter
  • 6 oz caster sugar (in the U.S. this is called “superfine” sugar. You can also blend granulated sugar to make your own)
  • 8 oz self-raising flour
  • 2 oz ground almonds (you can grind sliced almonds in a blender or food processor)
  • 3 large eggs
  • finely grated rind of one lemon
  • thin slice of lemon peel
  • confectioners’ sugar (optional)



Preheat the oven to 355 Fahrenheit. Grease a 7 in deep round cake tin and grease/line the base and sides with baking parchment.

Put the butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds, eggs and lemon zest into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat for 1 minute to mix thoroughly. Turn into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for 30 minutes. Place the slice of lemon peel on top of the cake and continue to bake for another 30-45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes to cool before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and BBC.


What I learned

Bake for slightly less time if your round cake tin is larger than 7 inches

The mixture will be thicker than typical cake batter. You’ll need to spread the mixture around the tin evenly so it will bake evenly

Dice the butter into cubes and it will reach room temperature faster

Take the stand mixer attachment off when you’re sifting dry ingredients into the bowl to make it easier on yourself 🙂

Follow me on YouTube and on Instagram @beginnerbakes!


One Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s