Saturday, July 30, 2016

Madeira Cake

A little while ago, I had to go on a preparation diet for a medical test.  The best way to describe the diet is "smooth white stuff".  It meant that I was quite limited in what I could eat, including the types of sweet treats I could have.

To indulge my baking habit during this period, I made a plain vanilla cake known as a Madeira Cake.  Madeira Cake is often used as the base for other flavoured cakes, but on this occasion, there was to be no additions for me.

There are dozens of Madeira Cake recipes out there, but the one I chose was from  a vintage cookbook, The Schauer Australian Cookery Book (1962 edition).  All of the recipes in this book are in imperial measurements, and there are no photos.  Also, there is no separate list of ingredients - you read the ingredients as you go along with the method.

The finished cake was a beauty:

The recipe as it appears in the book is as follows:

Cream 1/2 lb butter and 1/2 lb sugar together.  When quite white add a few drops of vanilla essence or a little grated lemon rind [not in my case!!]. Add 4 eggs slowly well beaten together. Sift 10 oz plain flour with one level teaspoon of baking powder twice. [I skipped the sifting.]  Add to the mixture.  Beat in lightly.  Half fill a well greased and floured tin. Place in another tin [hmmm, I didn't] and bake in a moderate oven for 1 1/4 hours.

Don't you just love it?  It assumes some knowledge of baking and so doesn't fill in the finer details like cookbooks today.  For me, this was not a problem, but I can imagine it would cause some people to scratch their heads.

It was a lovely cake, and hit the spot despite its totally unadorned nature.  Even the work crowd appreciated its simplicity.


Mae Travels said...

On the "Great British Baking Show" season that's currently airing in the US, madeira cake was one of the recent challenges. I couldn't find a recipe that used American ingredients, but yours would definitely be possible here. Did you see that episode, or do Australian TV stations air it at all? (In England it's called The Great British Bake Off.)

best, mae at

Cakelaw said...

Hi Mae, unfortunately it's only on pay TV here so I haven't seen it.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Ooh I have a soft spot for a classic madeira!! I'll have to give this a go :D

Johanna GGG said...

hope the medical test went well - sounds like a challenging preparation! but that cake looks so beautifully yellow and fluffy that it doesn't look like you were suffering too much :-) I am surprised it came from an Australian cookbook as I thought the name was a British one and not one I was familiar with during my childhood

Kari said...

I hope the tests went well and you're off the restricted diet now. Smooth white foods include a fair amount but still sound very limiting! In contrast to Johanna I do associate madeira cake with Australia as my Australian grandmother used to make it :-)

Pam said...

I bet this hit the spot! It looks and sounds delicious! Good luck with tests.

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