Madeira cake

Basic madeira cake recipes are a bakers bread and butter. My basic madeira cake recipe will have you whipping up beautiful cakes in no time.

A good basic madeira cake has many uses, it forms the backbone of many recipes. Because they are so versatile it is a recipe that every aspiring home baker should master. When it comes to making cakes for an occasion, something you are going to cover in fondant, I personally think you only have three options, madeira, chocolate mud cake or fruit cake. You need a cake that is dense enough to be able to hold the weight of all of that fondant and buttercream. Madeira cake is perfect for this because you can take the basic recipe and add flavour and colour to it and make it your own whilst still having a cake that is dense enough to withstand stacking and heavy fondant.

Madeira cake

A few basic things are needed for a madeira cake recipe, I highly recommend a stand alone mixer as the batter is quite thick and the eggs should be incorporated one at a time and the batter beaten well in between. With a hand mixer, this tends to make your arm ache. A good cake pan is also a necessity, madeira cake take a long time to bake and quality pans will reduce the risk of the outside of the cake burning.

My ultimate tip for baking a madeira is to wrap the cake tin in a drenched tea towel in the oven, this helps stop the sides from burning. You can buy special Velcro wraps for this purpose but I find that a drenched tea towel works just as well. I will place a link to these at the bottom of the post.

Madeira cake

Basic Madeira Cake

A basic madeira cake is a dense sponge used as a base for many baking recipes. 
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cake, madeira cake


  • 175 g butter room temperature
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 1 lemon zest


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Spray a 7in round cake tin with non stick cooking spray and line with baking paper.
  • Soak a tea towel with water, folding it to the height of the cake pan and wrap around the cake pan.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well between each one and adding a tablespoon of the flour with the last egg to prevent the mixture curdling.
  • Sift the flour and gently fold in followed by the milk and lemon zest.
  • Transfer the mixture to the baking tin levelling off the top then making a small hole in the centre to help the cake cook flat.
  • Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then leave to cool out of the tin on a wire cooling rack.
Madeira cake

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So there you have it, my basic madeira cake recipe. Don’t forget to show me your bakes by tagging @whatseatingmanchester in your social media post.

For more recipe inspiration check out my blog and pinterest.

Sarah xx