Classic madeira cake recipe

20 May


Regular readers will know I love unfussy, classic baking. No fancy fondant or cumbersome techniques for me – I like a cake that I can quickly put together, pop in the oven and remove and eat a short time later. 

I guess that’s why old-fashioned style cakes and I are such good friends. In days of yore the flavour, rather than the presentation, was all that mattered.

Baking a madeira cake had been on my list for a while but I kept getting side-tracked with different bickies, cupcakes and tarts.

I recently came across a recipe in the Sydney Morning Herald for madeira cake that inspired me. I changed almost everything, including swapping madeira, which I didn’t have, for Marsala. Both are types of fortified wine.

I also changed the type of flour, reduced the amount of almonds, changed the topping and switched the suggested sour cream for Greek yogurt.

I love the classic lines of a loaf cake – and I like to think that a skinny slice when photographing doesn’t count as much as a proper piece of cake.


80 grams flaked almonds

125 grams butter, diced, at room temperature

150 grams caster sugar

2 tablespoons Marsala – if you have madeira feel free to use that

80 grams full-fat Greek yogurt

200 grams self-raising flour

3 eggs at room temperature

cinnamon sugar



Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf pan with non-stick baking paper.

On a flat-lipped baking tray lightly toast the almonds for three minutes. Remove, shake tray to shift the almonds, and bake for another two minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

In bowl of electric mixer beat butter and sugar until smooth. Scrape down the sides of bowl with a spatula then add marsala, yogurt and flour. Beat until just combined then add eggs one at a time and beat until just combined.

Use a silver spoon to gently stir through almonds then pour into the tin. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar and bake for 70 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool in tin for ten minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.



29 Responses to “Classic madeira cake recipe”

  1. Lisa @ cheergerm May 20, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    Top marks from this fellow classic bake lover. I am pretty sure that thin slice doesn’t count. 😁

    • The Hungry Mum May 21, 2016 at 9:11 am #

      Yay Lisa 🙂 And nah, those skinny slices and great big crumbs and end pieces are calorie-free :0

  2. Laura (PA Pict) May 20, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    Madeira cake is one of my favorite things as its one of the few cakes my Gran could bake. I, therefore, associate it with the treat of staying in her tenement flat. I haven’t made one since I emigrated. I will need to seek out some Marsala or Madeira (not easy in Pennsylvania with its bonkers laws on alcohol sales) and then make one.

    • The Hungry Mum May 21, 2016 at 9:20 am #

      I love hearing stories of people’s association and memories of baking. So nice that you have that – I don’t recall either of my nanas ever baking anything, though maybe they did and I just don;t remember. I keep forgetting about your difficulty accessing alcohol. Seems v strange in this day and age!

  3. weebluemixer May 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    I love madeira cake and my dad always asks me to make one for him as its his favourite cake.I don’t use greek yoghurt marsala or madeira or almonds in mine. I love seeing other peoples recipes for things, makes me think about changing things up a bit!

    • The Hungry Mum May 21, 2016 at 9:05 am #

      Good to find another lover of the classics! Have you posted your version? Would love to see it! I have seen lemon used in many recipes so I might try that next time.

  4. Laura @ Feast Wisely May 21, 2016 at 2:20 am #

    I too spotted that recipe in the SMH – looks delicious Hungry Mum!

    • The Hungry Mum May 21, 2016 at 9:02 am #

      As soon as I saw it I knew it would be in my baking future x

  5. youthfoodblog May 21, 2016 at 4:17 am #

    Nice. Classic baking is what we all want to learn 🙂

    • The Hungry Mum May 21, 2016 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks – it is pretty much all I want to eat 🙂

  6. Angie@Angie's Recipes May 21, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    I too love simple baking recipes…no fondant, no buttercream (sometimes I find a simple whipped cream is even too much for me). This madeira loaf cake looks fabulous!

  7. Sheryl May 22, 2016 at 12:23 am #

    mmm. . . this cake sounds wonderful. I also like foods that aren’t fussy.

  8. Amanda | Yum In Your Tum May 22, 2016 at 3:48 am #

    The fuss-free recipes are the best! This cake looks and sounds delicious. Great recipe, will be trying this one out.

  9. lisahbrisbane May 22, 2016 at 7:05 am #

    I’m exactly the same when it comes to cakes – no fancy piping, layers, swirls or anything like that. Just a dusting of icing sugar will do! This classic cake looks so simple and delicious. Would be perfect with a strong cup of tea – yum!

    • The Hungry Mum May 22, 2016 at 9:20 am #

      Glad to hear there’s a few of us keeping the classics alive Lisa 🙂 You are right – this is def a cuppa kind a cake x

  10. Carolyn Page May 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    Yum. Reminds me, I had scones today, with jam and cream, of course. Nothing like a madeira cake, though. You really know you’ve something satisfying in your mouth. Yum, again. 🙂

    • The Hungry Mum May 23, 2016 at 6:37 am #

      OOoh, I love scones! Haven’t had any for ages. Thanks, this cake is going into my ‘classics’ folder.

  11. bakeplaysmile May 22, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

    I’m so glad you got around to making this! It looks great!

    • The Hungry Mum May 23, 2016 at 1:55 am #

      Thanks! It was such a lovely flavour, looking forward ti making it again.

  12. Swah May 22, 2016 at 11:36 pm #

    Mmm I love a good old madeira cake, this looks sensational!

  13. Samantha May 23, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    I absolutely LOVE Madeira Cake, haven’t tried it since going gluten free though. I might just have to try your wonderful recipe but using GF self raising flour, thanks for sharing! x

    • The Hungry Mum May 23, 2016 at 10:44 pm #

      Isn’t it fab? Just a smidge of booze lifts a normal cake into heaven 🙂 Let me know how you go with the GF flour, I have never tried it.

  14. Gingerbread Jenn May 23, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    I’m with you on the no-fuss, easy bakes. They’re my favourite too (mainly because I can’t do pretty)! I loveeeee Madeira cake and I’d very much like a slice now 🙂

    • The Hungry Mum May 23, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

      Same! I am all thumbs when it comes to delicate piping and fondant. Give mu icing sugar and a classic cake and I am happy x

  15. Mary Frances May 24, 2016 at 10:21 pm #

    This is perfect! Simple and delicious 🙂

  16. Sara | Belly Rumbles (@bellyrumbles) July 14, 2016 at 10:03 pm #

    Swapping with marsala, that is actually obvious when said and very clever. I will have to give it a go.


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