July 28, 2017

Baking The Perfect Madeira Cake

After several requests from workshop students, I am posting the “Madeira Cake” blog.  Good luck and hope this helps you.

Before working at Lindy’s I had never made a Madeira cake.  My first attempts weren’t great – they came out of the oven domed, very crispy on the outside and really dry.  I had conquered the decorating but the cakes weren’t getting eaten! So Lindy set me a challenge –  to create the perfect Madeira!

Well it’s taken three attempts and I’ve cracked it.  I used Lindy’s 8” Round Madeira recipe (see below).
Here are the extra tips Lindy has given me from her years of  baking experience, plus a few of my own :

  1. Use real unsalted butter.  Margarine and spreads have a too high water content.
  2. Make sure you take your butter and eggs out of the fridge so they can reach room temperature.
  3. Lindy’s Madeira should be cooked at 160°C but, as I have a fan oven, I turn it down 20 degrees to 140°C and place a bowl of water on the shelf.  My oven has baking trays that slide directly into it so I put one tray in for the cake to sit on and place another tray above it giving enough room for the cake tin plus about three inches clearance.  If you don’t have trays that slide in, just use the shelves and place a baking sheet under the cake and on the shelf above.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until white.  What I do is turn on the mixer and leave it to do it’s thing while I get on with the next stage.  This will take about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Line the inside of the tin as usual and then line the outside of the tin with newspaper – I use lots – at least 5 pages folded to about the height of the tin and secured with Sellotape.  This means that the cake will cook slower around the outside and more evenly throughout so you do not end up with a dome in the middle.
  6. After I have added the eggs (each with a little flour to stop curdling) I then add the flavouring.  Lindy’s recipe asks for the zest of two lemons.  I love lemony flavours so I add the zest of four lemons and the juice of half a lemon (make sure you put a good spoonful of flour in with this to stop curdling).  At this stage you can add glycerine.  You need ¼ teaspoon per egg.  This helps to keep the cake moist.  Add the remainder of the flour and gently fold in.
  7. When you spoon the mixture into the baking tin you need to scoop out the middle, so all the mixture is around the side of the cake tin and you can see the tin at the bottom (a bit like a ring doughnut!)  Don’t be nervous and just make a small dip in the middle – you really need to scoop it up the sides of the tin.
  8. Put it in the oven and bake for 1½ hours.  Check after this time with a skewer in the middle.  If it comes out clean the cake is done.  If not, depending on how much ingredient sticks to the skewer, give it 10 minutes more until the skewer comes out clean.  My cakes take longer than the recipe states because of the newspaper the lower cooking temperature – usually about 2-2¼ hours so don’t worry if it is still a bit “wobbly” at 1¾ hours.  Just check every 10 minutes.
  9. Leave your cake in the tin to cool, then transfer to a cooling rack.

This should produce a firm but moist cake.  Why not have a go!

Jane Dolder

Madeira baked as a mini cake

Madeira baked as a mini cake using a multi mini tin

8” Madeira Cake

350g (12 oz)              Unsalted Butter

350g (12 oz)              Caster Sugar

350g (12 oz)              Self Raising Flour

175g (6oz)                 Plain Flour

6                                Large Eggs

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Grease and line the cake tin (pan) with baking parchment.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light, fluffy and pale. Sift the flours together in a separate bowl.
  3. Beat the eggs into the creamed mixture, one at a time, following each with a spoonful of flour, to prevent the mixture curdling.
  4. Sift the remaining flour into the creamed mixture and fold in carefully with a large metal spoon.
  5. Transfer to the lined bakeware and bake, see above but everyone’s oven is different.. When the cake is ready it will be well risen, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool then, leaving the lining paper on, wrap the cake in foil or place in an airtight container for at least 12 hours before cutting, to allow the cake to settle.

Different sized/shape tin? Please click here to see a simple chart for changing quantities

If you fancy having a go at baking a batch of madeira minis, we sell some wonderful sets of multi-mini tins, available through our online shop. They come in 3 sizes: 5cm (2in), 6.5cm (2.5in) and 7.5cm (3in), just click on the size that interests you for more information. Have FUN!



  1. Fantastic post Jane! Thank you for taking the time to explain this ‘trade secret’. I am going to try it and let you know how I get on.


  2. Absolutely fantastic! Thanks very much for the tips. I tried this last night and the cake turned out perfectly. It’s the first time I dared to really scoop out the middle so I could actually see the bottom of the tin and it really does work!

  3. hello, i noticed at one point you mentioned adding glycerine, but didnt mention it further down in the ingredients and method, is this the magic ingredient I am missing in my madeira cakes? I have done that many different variations we are sick of the sight of sponge cake but i wont give until i find the perfect madeira cake as I am enjoying making birthday cakes etc. My cakes do seem to come out a bit hard on the outside and slightly dry so am wondering whether glycerine would help, plus the covering the outside ofthe tin in paper and putting a bowl of water in.


  4. Glycerine is optional, but it is hygroscopy so it has the abillity to attract water molecules from the surrounding environment i.e. it helps keep a cake moist. Add it after creaming the butter and sugar together.
    Hope your next cake turns out really well

  5. why do you fold the flour in …cant you just mix it in on the lowest setting on the kenwood ???
    also dont know if it helps…but in lakeland they are selling band things that go round the outside of your cake tins…you wet them first and pin them round and it stops the cake from doming???
    oh…..and isnt it ok to use the block margerine??

  6. Hi Shelley
    To answer your questions:
    I fold in the flour to retain as much air in the cake as possible
    The Lakeland cake bands are the same principle as the paper we recommend – old newspaper is just cheaper!
    Yes it’s OK to use block margerine instead of block butter – we just prefer the flavour that butter gives the cake!
    Happy baking

  7. Tracy Piper says:

    I’m wanting to make a 10″ cake. what would the measurements be for that size and also the baking time?

  8. i have done it tonight using paper and folding in the flour…its baking as i type….i tried an all in one cake today…it was vile …really greasy…i had to chuck the 2×12 inch ones away…!!!! i usually always make maderia but just do it in the machine so will be interested to see how the folding works….thanks alot

  9. Hi Tracy
    You’ll need to times the ingredients by 1 1/2

  10. jan burnage says:

    i am making a 1 and 8 in maderia, can you advise me on the quantities of maderia sponge that i will require, as i have made your maderia sponge and find it is perfect.

  11. Hi Jan
    The recipe above is for an 8in cake – do you really mean a 1in cake or is this a typo? I’m pleased to hear that you find my maderia cake recipe perfect.

  12. Hi, I’m going to attempt to make a Madeira cake using the above mixture, I was just wondering what depth the cake will end up? I need to know if it will be tall enough to not have to make two and then sandwich them together or, if on the other hand – I need to make two. Thankyou. Lucy

  13. Hi Lucy
    You will only need one cake, it should rise to about 7.5cm (3in) high- if you follow the instructions above!
    Happy baking

  14. Lindy

    I tried making a madeira cake yesterday using your recipe above, however the cake ended up with alot of holes in it. As I am new to this, I assume it something I done wrong, but not sure what! lol. The mix was quite thick and I was able to scoop it up the sides like you suggested – but when it was done, it was quite dry and crumbly, and lots of tiny little holes (and a few big ones) in the cake. Can you advise me what I might have done wrong? Thanks.

  15. Hi Lindy,

    Please can you tell me the multiple of the 8 inch madeira recipe to use for a 12 Inch Madeira. Also would be grateful if you tell me the temperature setting to use and the baking time. Can’t seem to find this here Thank you

  16. Hi. I was hoping to make a 13 x 9 inch cake with your madeira recipe as it’s fab and was wondering if you could advise me as to what quantities to use. thank you

  17. Hi Jenny
    The way to work this out is to compare the area of your cake with a standard square cake size, 9in x 13in gives 117sq inches this is closest to an 11in square or 12in round cake in size. Therefore you will need to multiply quantities given above for an 8in round by 2 1/2. For more information on adapting recipes please see our blog post on changing recipe quantities

  18. Hi Kemi
    The multiple is 2 1/2 , baking time 2-2 1/4 hours but this will very much depend on your oven – temperature between 140 and 160 again it depends on how your oven bakes
    Good luck

  19. Hi Rhonda
    Madeira cakes always has a few holes but baking is a science and there are a number of factors that can cause excessive or extra large holes for example:
    The flour is too strong
    The mixture is too stiff – add a little milk to soften slightly
    Over mixing the ingredients
    The egg content is too high
    Eggs – always use fresh eggs and beat them before adding
    The batter may have curdled

    I hope these suggestions may help

  20. Hi!
    I recently tried my first Madeira cake & since I haven’t ever tasted one before, I’m not sure I got it right. It tasted ok (I flavoured it with lemon and chocolate chips) but I personnally found it very dry. I’ve got a few questions:
    1) Was it dry because I didn’t put a bowl of water inside the oven while baking the cake? My oven isn’t that big & when I placed the cake inside, there didn’t seem to have enough space for a bowl.
    2) I used the newspaper trick but I wasn’t able to scoop out the middle. The mixture kept falling back in the hole. My cake ended up with a dome in the middle. Is it because my mixture got too thick? Should I be using more newspaper around the cake tin?
    3) How high must the cake rise? should it be really spongy?
    Thanks for helping me out. I can’t wait to have another go!

  21. Hi,
    I have recently tried my first Madeira cake following the tips above. I flavoured it with lemon and added chocolate chips. Since I’d never tasted one before, I don’t know if I got it right. I have a few questions:
    1) The cake was a bit dry. Is it because I didn’t put a bowl of water in the oven while it was cooking? My oven is not that big and when I placed the cake inside, there didn’t seem to have enough space for a bowl. Is there another way to proceed?
    2) I wasn’t able to scoop a hole in the middle of the cake. The mixture was thick and it kept falling back in the middle. My cake ended up with a big dome even though I lined the outside of the cake tin with newspaper. Should I put more newspaper next time?
    3) Does the cake have to be really spongy?
    Thanks for your advice. I can’t wait to give it another try.

  22. Hi there

    I was wondering, can one use baking paper or brown paper instead of newspaper?


  23. Hi Michelle
    Brown paper would be fine

  24. Hi Lindy

    I have just made the maderia as per Jane’s method but without the lemon, it is in the oven as I type this. Can you please tell me how the mixture should look and feel when mixed together? I felt that my mixture was quite thick so I added a little milk to slacken it but it still looked stretchy in appearance and quite thick and stodgy!



  25. Hi Lindy

    Thanks for your reply!

    I was just wondering how I would wrap and secure the paper around a 2l bowl? And if I can’t manage to do the paper, should I still bake at 140 in a thermofan oven?

    Thanks again!

  26. Katie Smith says:

    Hi, i am wanting to make a 9 inch round maderia cake today!
    i am unsure of the measurements, cooking time and tempreture,
    please can you help its for my mums 50th!

  27. Hi Katie
    Can I refer you to our blog on changing the quanties of a recipe post as this tells you how to work out the quanties that you need. The temperature will be the same and the baking time a little longer.
    Happy baking

  28. Hello Alison,
    The mixture should be thick and stodgy! It is quite different from a victoria sandwich mixture which is smooth and light.
    I hope it was a success – let us know.

  29. Hi Lindy

    I now wished I scooped out the centre more – I chickened out and only scooped out half! It has risen in the middle leaving the sides quite shallow. I was a little unsure of the quantity to use – I’m making a 12″ x 6″ cake so I used 2 x 6″ square mix. However, I’m going to make another one and this time I will scoop the centre out to the bottom of the tin!


  30. Katie Smith says:

    Thanks, cake is in the oven now will let you no how it goes!
    decorating it tomorrow

  31. Hi Michelle
    I don’t think you can but how about putting the bowl in a deep tin and stufffing scrunched up newspaper around the outside – think it should work!
    let us know how you get on

  32. Thanks Lindy!

    That’s a great idea! I’m about to bake, so will let you know how it turns out.

    I couldn’t find glycerine suitable for consumption, so hopefully it won’t be too dry.

  33. Jane Dolder writes about putting a baking tray on the oven shelf for the cake tin to sit on, then another baking tray on the shelf above it. Is this only necessary for fan ovens? (I have a gas oven.)

    Many thanks, Chris

  34. Hi, I want to make a madeira using a 12″x 12″ tin. when putting the mixture in the tin, should I therefore scoop out the centre in a ‘square’ rather than the ring ‘doughnut’ that you suggest? Many thanks, Chris

  35. Hi Jane

    I’ve made another cake and it is just the same as the previous one! I’ve made a 12″ x 6″ and used 2 x the 6″ mix. I am happy with both cakes if trimmed at a levelled 1.5 ” – 2″, although I am sure that one cake should be sufficent but I can not get it to rise evenly to a level of 3″. What am I doing wrong – have I’ve over beaten the eggs? I’ve followed your instructions but omitted the lemon but added the glycerin?


  36. Yes and don’t forget to protect the sides of the tin as well.
    Good luck

  37. Hi, just thought I’d report back…

    I couldn’t find a tin deep enough for the bowl, so I wrapped brown paper around it and folded it in where the bowl tapers. It worked like a charm!

    Baked at 140, didn’t put glycerine, but did put the bowl of water is too. Scooped out the middle and got a beautiful, moist madeira cake!

    Thank you for sharing your tips and for the advice! This is a great blog!

  38. Hi Lindy, came across this great site when searching for a recipe for my daughter’s Communion in May. Sorry if this sounds like a daft question but I am not sure what you mean by scooping the centre of the cake mixture in the tin..do you mean making a well?

  39. Hi, I’ve made a madeira cake and decorated it for my sister in law’s birthday. I asked my brother for a bit of feedback and he commented that the sponge seemed ‘heavy’. Should a madeira be like this?

  40. Yes make a well
    Happy Baking

  41. Lindy, thanks for your answer to my previous question. As said previously, I am going to make a cake for my daughter’s Communion. All my previous projects have been using fruit cake but I want to make a sponge in the shape of a prayer book. What kind of cake would you advise i.e. sponge or madeira? Can I make two layers of madeira, put jam in the middle and then carve the book shape. Is it better to wait a day after baking in order to carve? Sorry to ask so many questions but you seem to be expert!

  42. Hi Catherine
    I would opt for madeira, as it is a cake that is ideal to cover with sugarpaste – light sponges can not support the weight of the sugarpaste leading to all sorts of problems!!! I suggest you bake one cake and split it rather than make two cakes and yes leave it for a while to let the cake settle before carving.
    Good luck

  43. Sue Wraight says:

    Hi Lindy
    Is it possible to make a chocolate madeira cake for a wedding cake and if so please could you let me know the receipe. Many thanks Sue

  44. Helen McMahon says:

    Well, I followed the instructions to the tee. Took the cake out of the oven last night after 2 1/4 hrs and left it in the tin overnight to cool and what did I come down to this morning – a doughnut!! No centre middle in the cake at all!! So annoyed as the cake has to iced etc for a 40th birthday party tomorrow night :(

  45. Hello Helen,
    If the cake looked OK when you took it out of the oven I can only think that it was not baked all the way through. Please persevere with the cake and don’t be put off. Have a look at our post on why cakes sink in the middle for a few tips.
    Kind regards

  46. Hello Cindy,
    1. Did you put glycerine in the mixture? This really helps to make the cake moist, especially if you are unable to put a small bowl of water in the over.
    2. The mixture should be quite thick, a lot heavier than a sponge mixture, so you should be able to push it towards the side of the tin.
    3. The cake domes because it cooks too quickly on the outside so the mixture has to go somewhere, so it creates the dome. You could try more newspaper or turn your oven down. The cake should rise to about 3″ and be a dense moist consistency.
    Hope this helps.

  47. Hello Chris,
    I would use this method for gas ovens as well to create a more even temperature and so the cake does not cook too rapidly.

  48. Hello Alison,
    You didn’t say if the 2 x 6″ mix was the round tin mix. If so you need to use different quantities. To work out the quantities you need to do a few calculations :

    6″ x 12″ cake = 72″ so you would need a recipe that makes 72″

    9″x 9″ cake = 81″
    8″ x 8″ cake = 64″

    It would be best to go for the 9″x9″ recipe and have a little left over. This is a 9 egg Madeira recipe.

    Hope this makes sense!

  49. Hello Sue,
    We think it best to make a chocolate cake rather than a chocolate flavoured cake. Lindy has a great recipe in her books that is perfect for a wedding cake and is delicious!

  50. Hi Lindy,

    I’ve just made a couple of Madeira cakes, one chocolate & one plain. For the chocolate one I took out a spoon of flour & added the cocoa & it turned out ok, but the plain one has come out quite stodgy & heavy. Is this because I have over beaten the eggs?


  51. Emma Simpson says:


    I am making a 6″ cake just now and have tried to follow your steps. However, I am not sure how to scoop the middle out as the baking parchment was then coming away from the tin and collapsing inwards. Please Help!

    Many thanks

    Emma Simpson

  52. Hi Emma,
    If you grease the tin before putting the baking parchment in it should stick to the sides, so you can scoop the mixture toward the outside of the tin.

  53. Thanks a lot, Jane, for your advice. I did put glycerine in the mixture. I will try again and hopefully it will come out right this time!

  54. Hi Lindy

    Find your books and recipes fantastic, i have struggled with the madeira cake recipe so was thrilled to find top tips on how to make the perfect one. I have two birthday cakes to do this month so will try it out then. Just 1 question how do you make black icing to pipe?? I find mine goes grey rather than black when i add food colour,i am using the paste not liquid but not the extra black is this the reason??
    Thanks again for some fab ideas


  55. Do you know where I can find a fleur de lys cookie cutter?

  56. Emma Smith says:

    I am having a trial run of this recipe at the weekend for a 10″ square cake as I’ve never made a madeira or anything this big before. As I need a lot of ingredients can I use cheap stuff for the trial run and the good stuff for the final cake or do I need to use the same ingredients for working out the time/temp etc?

    Many thanks,


  57. Hello Ali,
    A Madeira mix is meant to be quite thick and heavy as this is a very dense cake.

  58. Hello Sarah,
    Black icing is always a problem, but using Extra Black paste would be the best way.

  59. Hi Laura,
    Sorry can’t help you on this one. Can anyone help Laura?

  60. Sarah Crossley says:


    look on splat cooking website they have one.


  61. Suzi Strover says:

    How long will this cake last if covered with buttercream and sugarpaste? I made a 12″ one with glycerin on Tuesday night and have found out it won’t be eaten until Saturday.

  62. Hi Suzi
    It really depends on the type of cake you have baked. If you’ve made a madeira it will last up to 2 weeks

  63. Hi,

    I followed this to the letter yesterday but my (square, 10″) cake did dome a bit in the middle and is quite dry. I doubled the quantities as I read on the site. I had the bowl of water, the newspaper, the glycerine, I scooped right down as much as I could and so I just don’t know where I’ve gone wrong – any ideas?

    Sarah J

  64. Hello Sarah,
    If you are using a 10″ square cake tin you need to use the same amount of ingredients as for an 11″ round cake. This may be why your cake didn’t turn out OK.

  65. well i thought i’d give this recipe a try in my 9 inch cake tin.3 inches deep. well i only added the lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice and of course the glycerine.Well its the best risen cake i’ve ever made. didnt dome(i used newspaper outside)i can’t stop looking at it!

  66. Hi,

    I was wondering how much buttercream icing i would need to fill and cover (before covering with fondant) a 12″ Square cake? I have one of your cake books but the recipe says for 1 quantity but not what size cake the quantity would be for..any help would be appreciated…


  67. Hello Abi,
    Try 1 1/2 times the recipe or even twice the amount. You can always keep it in the fridge for next time if you’ve made too much.

  68. Hi. I printed this info and recipe off some time ago, waiting for hubby’s birthday. My madeira cakes have always come out so dry and tasteless that I gave up making them. I made this yesterday and your recipe is perfect. I added the glycerine which I’ve never heard of doing before, and this has made it lovely and moist. The cake did end up with just a slight dome and crack, but I’ve cut that off and eaten it!! Just got to decorate it now. Thanks so much.

  69. I need to make a 12″ square maderia what quantaties should I use and how long should I bake it for I have a gas oven Also how much glycerin do you put in many thanks

  70. Thanks for letting us know how pleased you are – have fun decorating

  71. I have made a 12″ by 12″ madeira today following most of the tips on this page (many thanks!). It is looking good so far, though I did set fire to the paper in the oven due to opening it and turning it up a bit to compensate, at the same time (= backdraft I think)!!! Whoops. It is looking a bit crusty on that side so I am going to cut this off. It is a trial run anyway so lesson learnt.

    What I am wondering is how to store now (until decorated) as I don’t think I have an airtight container big enough! Any ideas anyone!?!??! I have already taken the side lining paper off which I learn was probably a mistake…

    Thanks again for this wonderful website. I hope to be placing an order soon.

  72. One way to store your cake before it is decorated is to wrap the cake completely in foil and then pop it inside a few plastic bags to make it as airtight as possible.

  73. Thank you.

    Ended up wrapping in baking paper and then loads of clingfilm.

    It took two of us to do it but we’ve made it into three layers very successfully. It was surprisingly easy to cut! Buttercream in between bottom layer and jam in top layer.

    It has turned out brilliantly for a first attempt even if I do say so myself!

    I would not say it is dry but I would not say it is very moist either. It is absolutely fine as it is but a little bit more moisture wouldn’t go amiss. I put the water in oven, loads of wrapping and shelf above (couldn’t do below – not enough shelves), and the glycerine.

    Shall I put a bit more glycerine in next time or the sugar syrup?

    Thanks again

  74. I tried the recipe mentioned above and am so delighted to get a really moist cake! It did dome a bit, but I managed to level that off.

    Thanks so much for posting these tips!

  75. Farhana K says:

    Hi Lindy,

    I made your madeira cake yesterday for a birthday. It rose great but seemed very dry. I made an 8″ cake and used your recipe to the word – please tell me what could be the cause? I even added glycerine.

    Thank you Lindy.

  76. Hi there,

    This sounds great I will try the glycerine. I’m just wondering, I have a large Wilton open book cake pan that takes 14oz of water, the same as my 8 inch deep round cake tin. Is it ok to use the recipe for this shaped tin? I feel madeira is better as it’s sturdier to decorate than regular sponge. Also, should I make a set up board to put underneath before transferring it to the cake board itself?

    Thank you!


  77. Hi, firstly thank you for this website – I have found it invaluable, have persevered with madeira sponge and after at least seven attempts I am confident to bake a success! So thank you – nice to read other people’s comments – makes you want to keep going when ready to throw towel in.

    My question is – I made a two tier madeira for my daughters birthday (7inch and 5inch), I sugarpasted and put the 5inch on a thin cut 5inch board. Put two plastic dowels in 7inch and plonked 5inch on – finished decorating – all good. However when I came to cut it, the top tier didnt come away from the sugarpaste bottom tier – it all stuck to bottom of cake board.

    So I guess I should have allowed the sugarpaste to have dried before stacking – but is there anything else I could have done to prevent this? Do you have to put tin foil on underside of cake board that will be in middle of the tiers?

    Hope this makes sense. I am making another two tier cake next weekend, and dont want the same mess – I could really give the bottom tier cake out to people as top was such a mess.

    Thanks for any advice.

  78. Sorry – that should have said I ‘couldn’t’ have given out the bottom tier.
    Have just made a chocolate madiera cake with 30g cocoa powder added, but it was dry. Any ideas for chocolate madeira recipe?

  79. For a 12 inch madeira, we would recommend using:-

    1kg unsalted butter
    1 kg caster (superfine) sugar
    1 kg self raising (self rising) flour
    500g plain flour
    18 large eggs (extra large in US)

    Bake for 2 and a quarter to 2 and a half hours at 160 degrees Celcius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit – Gas Mark 3

    We would also recommend a quarter of a teaspoon of glycerin per egg in the recipe.

  80. Don’t be put off – once you have mastered the technique it will be with you for life.
    Try reading all the comments on our blog and double checking through the recipe.
    It may be worth investing in an oven thermometer to check the temperature of your oven. Or try baking another cake with the oven at a lower temperature – no two ovens are the same!
    If you are using a fan oven – see if you can turn the fan off – this may produce better results.

    Keep trying – and do let us know how you get on.

  81. I have made the cake and it turned out really well – I did use the glycerine. It didn’t even rise more in the middle than at the side like it did the first time around. I will definitely use madeira from now on for all my cakes, they’re much sturdier and tastier!


  82. Hi Lindy,
    I found this site yesterday while searching for a Madeira Cake recipe and made it late last night.
    I always thought Madeira had lemon in it? I added lemon zest and juice anyway as we love lemon over here.
    I made it according to you recipe and instructions apart from the glycerine as I didn’t have any and it was too late to go to the shops. However, it turned out perfect in looks, great size, not sure on tasted though as I am decorating it today as a birthday cake.
    Thanks for your tips on baking and this great recipe 😉
    Deanna (from New Zealand)

  83. Hello Jane,

    Hang on in there – it sounds like you are close to baking the perfect madeira.
    Are you eating your cake soon after baking?
    Madeira cake moistens as it matures.
    We would recommend wrapping the cake well and placing in an airtight container – leave it for a few days to mature and then taste it. You may find this is all it takes!

    Good luck!

  84. Gary Nugent says:

    Hi, Lindy.

    I am new to sugarcraft and cake making. I have tried your madeira cake recipe, even though I used Stork margarine and an 8inch square tin with the 8inch batter mix as above (didn’t realise the recipe was for 8 inch round cake)it worked great. The cake rose much more than previous attempts with other recipes. I baked in 140-160c fan oven for 2hrs, wrapped in newspaper and a bowl of water, is it usual for the cake to appear so pale in colour and moist to the touch on the sides and bottom? At first I thought it was underdone but it passed the skewer test!

    Great site by the way

  85. Hi Gary,

    it sounds like you are doing well.
    Madeira cake is normally quite pale in colour.
    If the skewer is coming out clean, then the cake should be cooked in the middle.
    Remember madeira cake does become more moist as it matures – if you leave it in an airtight container for a few days it will become more moist than straight out of the oven.

  86. To create a rich, moist yet firm chocolate cake, have a look at the recipe on page 8 of Cakes to Inspire and desire or most of lindy’s other books. This recipe uses real chocolate rather than cocoa powder.

  87. Zoe O'Sullivan says:

    Hi there

    I am loving this website and all the fab comments and tips!

    I am making my sons 1st birthday cake tomorrow night and I am planning on making a 2 tiered madeira cake – bottome layer 8″ and top 6″. I have chosen madeira as I want to make it tomorrow and have it Sat for his party and then the following Weds for the family party.

    What amounts of the recipe above will I need for the 6″ cake?

    Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!

    Zoe xx

  88. Hi Zoe
    You just halve the 8in recipe to get the quantities for a 6in – see our blog post on quantities

  89. Hello Kate,

    I am sorry to hear that you had a bit of a cake disaster on your hands.
    What you need to do is cover the bottom tier in sugarpaste and set this to one side to dry out a bit. You then place the top tier cake directly on to the cake board and cover the cake plus board combination in sugarpaste. Set this aside to dry out a little.
    You can then place the top tier on to the bottom tier and you should not have any problems with the bottom tier being messed up.

    I do hope that this helps.

  90. Melanie says:


    I’m making a 14inch Madeira tomorrow. I have done a trial run and the cake did rise a bit in the middle so I’m liking the idea of newspaper around the sides but I’m worried this will catch fire. Is there any tips for making sure this doesn’t happen? Thanks Melanie

    P.S. This is the best cake baking resource I have found on the web and trust me I’ve searched for days and days!

  91. Hi Melanie
    I assume you must have a gas oven, unfortunately I’ve never baked in one of these however, I would suggest try wetting the paper first. Another idea I’ve read about is to put wet paper inside aluminium foil and wrap this around the cake tin.
    Hope this helps

  92. Melanie says:

    Oh that’s perfect… i like the aluminium foil idea. Thank you!

  93. Interested in other flavours.

    Is it possible to make a raspberry madiera? If so, I can’t find raspberry extract on the web only in the Usa – could you use blended fresh raspberries?

    Also I havee been reading up on red velvet cake and pink velvet cake and wondered if these are popular or going to be here?

  94. Hello Paula,

    There is no problem with adding flavoured extracts to the madeira cake recipe – we sometimes see students coming to our classes with coloured madeiras (where they have added food colouring instead of a flavoured extract). Adding raspberry extract would work just as well.
    We would steer clear of adding fruit pulp to the cake batter as this is likely to make it too moist and sloppy.

    Red velvet cakes are certainly very popular over here at the moment. Let us know whether they become popular where you are.

    Anybody got any suggestions on where you can get hold of raspberry extract in the USA?

  95. oops sorry I meant to say I’m in the uk – and I haven’t been able to fnd a raspberry extract on the web for the uk – only on the web in the usa. I thought Jane Asher would have stocked it. I’ll keep looking.
    Thanks for the advice – much appreciated.

  96. found some in the uk – yeay!!!

  97. How deep should the cake tins be? Most are 3″ – do you use deeper tins?

  98. I now have my fourth madeira in the oven!

    First 12″ square a tiny bit dry but ok…came to conclusion I’d grossed up wrong and cooked for too long!

    Second 12″ square – fab: moist and firm (just as well as used for a birthday cake!)

    Third 9″ square (different tin) – middle collapsed as not cooked. Lesson learnt – make sure it is firm on top and push skewer in a long way to check no bits clinging and you aren’t rushed by trying to get on to getting toddler to bed! BUT used 2 teaspoons almond extract and the cooked bits tasted delicious!

    Fourth 12″ by 7″ rectangle – in oven now. Another practice one. I’ve used 2 teaspoons lemon extract as I am too lazy to zest! I suspect it would taste better with a bit of zest as well for different levels of lemoniness but the raw mixture tasted gorgeous!

    I wonder what other flavours people have experimented with? I have got rum extract, Camp coffee essence, orange extract, and peppermint extract in….

  99. I also meant to say that there are some fab tips here – especially the glycerine one which I haven’t seen anywhere else!

  100. Another option for you Paula is to add fresh whole raspberries into the cake batter – the cake won’t keep as long onced baked but it makes a nice alternative.
    Have fun experimenting


  1. […] Anyway, it was time to make the cake… I used a simple madeira cake recipe – the one on Lindy’s blog is great for carving.  I won’t regurgitate it here – check out Lindy’s blog. […]