Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cherry and Lemon Madeira Cakes - childhood favourites.

This is a real old family favourite my mother used to make a lot when I was a kid. She usually made the cherry version. Very irresistable especially just out of the oven! I thought to post the recipe as it is very quick and simple, and a real classic recipe.

The photo shows cherry madeira cake and lemon madeira, already tasted!
It is a variation on the Victoria sponge cake 4-4-4-2 ratio, as it has a slightly higher ratio of flour to butter and sugar. This makes for a more solid texture but it is nonetheless light and tasty, and keeps quite well for days in an airtight tin. Of course this rarely happens as it will be eaten pretty fast - perfect for morning and afternoon tea, when visitors drop in, relaxing with a cuppa watching telly or reading or knitting - or all three as I tend to do.

The Lemon Madeira is a variation with a tablespoon of lemon juice instead of the tepid water and some grated lemon rind added to the mixture, and this is a tangier less sweet tasting cake than the Cherry, but equally yummy!

Cherry Madeira Cake

Ingredients (for 2 loaf tin cakes)
  • 12oz/375gm self-raising flour ( or plain flour and 2-3 teaspoons baking powder)
  • 8oz/225gm butter

  • 8oz/225gm sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence

  • 2-3 tablespoons tepid water
  • 200gm glacé cherries if making cherry cake


Preheat oven to 190 degrees Centigrade/375 degrees Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 5.

Line 2 small or 1 large loaf tins with greaseproof paper.

1. Put everything except cherries into mixing bowl.

2. Using food mixer, mix thoroughly until smooth and creamy - a stiff dropping consistency.

3. Divide mixture between the two tins.

4. Bake in centre of oven for 30-40 mins until golden brown and a knife stuck in centre comes out dry and clean.

5. Cool on wire rack.

Cherry Cake variation
Prepare as above stage 1 & 2, then fold in cherries which have been washed to remove sticky glaze, dried and halved and dusted with flour.
This prevents the cherries from falling to bottom of cake.

Decorate top of cake with 8-10 of the cherries whole or halved.

Complete stage 3-5 as above.


Peggy said...

My Mom used to make this in a big round cake tin,She also made a 'marble' version, dividing the mixture in to 3, adding red colouring to one part and chocolate to another and swirling the 3 patrs together.It tasted much the same as the madiera one but looked lovely on the plate!

Tilly said...

These have got to be my two most favourite cakes! Hubby loves fruit cake so we tend to have that the most.

Catherine said...

Thanks for the comments!
Peggy - I used to make marble cake years ago when the kids were small for birthday parties, using mostly Victoria sponge mix, and it was lovely, a third each of vanilla sponge, chocolate sponge and coffee sponge. Your mom's was more colourful! I used the food colouring on the icings!

Tilly - I had a look at your lovely blog and started following it. Please follow mine if you like. Your life sounds interesting, love the idea of the eco-style you're managing with solar and wind power.

I did a lot of baking this weekend so some posts should find their way to the blog!

FoodFunFarmLife said...

These both sound delicious, & I bet they would freeze well, too ? (If they lasted long enough to put in the freezer though !) Mmmmm .... now you've got me in the mood for baking !

Caroline said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog & becoming a follower it is so nice to know that people enjoy reading my little bit of this & that.

At the moment Australia is a country in mourning we have lost well over 100 lives in devastating bush fires over the weekend. A very srrowful tragedy

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

I am so glad to have had you come by my blog as it has lead me to yours!
It looks like a Very "me" blog>>>lol!
I look forward to visiting regularly and checking out more recipes...I love cookbooks and recipes soooo much

The Cherry Tree Farm said...

Do you think tea evolved as a good excuse to eat lovely cakes like this?? These look scrumptious; I love, love lemon, and as my husband feels the same about cherries, I think I might have to try both of these. Delicious! kristin

Unknown said...

These look gorgeous, I hear Sean Fitzpatrick's blog gives tips on how to cook the books but can I awrn you the taste left in the mouth is very bitter and long lasting

Catherine said...

Disclaimer! This is a long comment I got by email from Paul in Leicester. It speaks for itself and I bow to his finding of the time being too short at 35-40 mins, he needed 75mins.
Hi Catherine

A complete stranger from Leicester put Madeira Cake into Google and surfed a few recipes. Well, as I get older I get cornier. I saw a pretty small town square and read the words ‘This is a real old family favourite my mother used to make’. At that, the search was over and your words went straight to the printer.

Cakes that don’t turn out as they should are often needlessly called ‘a disaster’. For my effort, the word disaster fell far short. What would describe it best? Calamity? Fiasco? Tragedy? Nope, those words flatter the golden cottage of sweet loaf I turned out on the breadboard that within minutes was a derelict wreck scheduled for demolition. All four sides and the top imploded and the splodge oozed cloying, yellow chewing gum. Well, actually, just gum. No one wanted to chew it.

But those words ‘old, family, favourite, mother’ wouldn’t free me of their power. I analysed my faults and tried again. The second time, success! Tah-rra! Even more flattering than the fact that the two cakes lasted less that 48 hours was that they seemed to shrink, slice by slice, surreptitiously. My family (wife and two daughters of 17 and 22) were sneaking seconds and thirds. Perhaps the instinct is that if others don’t catch you indulging, they won’t be alerted to how good the cake is, and ‘all the more for me’ will be furtiveness’s reward.

So thanks to the wonder of the world wide web, your mum’s baking found its way into four tummies in England’s East Midlands. Isn’t that fantastic?

OK, business now. Your mixture fitted my loaf tins perfectly, but your temp and time led to an undercooked goo. I lowered the heat to 175 C and increased time to 1:15. I avoided my first time error of using a skewer to test the bake (it doesn’t give enough evidence of undercooking) and stuck to your direction of using a knife. Dentists are overpaid as it is so I lowered the sugar to 200 gms. And, how your mum would disapprove, I have since cooked the cake forgetting to add vanilla. Nobody noticed (though to me there was a curious hint of coconut to the sponge).

Your mum’s recipe is now a regular family request. To her and the inventor of the internet Tim Berners-Lee I raise my moreish slice of your childhood favourite.

Very best,

Paul and family