I made a Madeira cake because it seemed refined – one should drink a glass of Madeira wine with it as one reclines for a mid-morning treat, apparently. It’s basically a slightly lemony sponge cake and is pretty D.R.Y., hence the excuse of drinking wine with, I expect. I’d only had it with a cup of tea, but either is pretty good. Drinking cake with wine is very much a nineteenth century idea, partaken by middle-class ladies, the cake itself has nothing directly to do with the island.
Cream 6 ounces of butter and the same of sugar until light and fluffy. Sift 9 ounces of flour and half a teaspoon of baking powder into a separate bowl. Next, stir in 4 large eggs one at time, adding a small amount of flour between each egg to avoid them splitting the mixture. Once incorporated, stir in the rest of the flour and the grated rind of half a lemon. Pour the mixture into a lined or greased 8 inch cake tin. Bake at 180°C for anywhere between 50 minutes and 1 ½ hours, depending on your oven’s idiosyncrasies (I’m still getting used to mine). Half-way through the cooking time, place two strips of lemon zest on the centre of the cake. To test if it’s cooked, stab it with a skewer. When it’s ready let it cool for about 10 minutes before tuning out onto a wire rack.
#72 Madeira Cake – 7/10. I really liked this cake. I usually prefer something with a bit of cream or icing, but in combination with the sweet Madeira wine, it is really lovely. How refined!