Lemon Madeira Loaf

What says tea time better than a lemon Madeira loaf? Topped with some fresh seasonal berries and stunning flowers…get that kettle boiling and the teapot ready!  Although this may seem like just a lemony flavoured cake that seems plain, you’ll realise its beauty as you start slicing and enjoying it with a hot cuppa tea, the ultimate ‘mood-lifter’. This Madeira cake recipe is just a few basic ingredients and is just as simple to make.

Makes: 1 x 22cm loaf


Cooking Methods

  • Baking

Prep Time

24 minutes

Cooking Time

45 minutes


For the cake:

  • 150g butter, softened
  • 150g castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 50g plain flour
  • 75ml (5 Tbsp) lemon juice
  • 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla paste
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the icing and topping:

  • 250 ml (1 cup) icing sugar
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) lemon juice
  • Strawberries, blueberries and edible flowers for garnish


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric beater or wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time until smooth. Sift the flour into the mixture and gently fold in. Then fold in the lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest.
  3. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
  4. For the icing and topping:

    1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the cake with the icing glaze and garnish with berries and edible flowers.


Why is it called Madeira cake?

Madeira cake does not originate from Maderia, but is rather an English (British) classic, so why is it called Madeira? Way back, it became common practice for the British to have a slice of this delicious cake whilst sipping on Madeiran wine, so much so that the cake eventually got named after it. In fact, Maderia actually has their own traditional cake called Bolo de Mel which is actually dark and sticky as it is made with molasses or honey.

Can I add seeds to a Madeira cake recipe?

If you love a seedy cake, then you should definitely add a few poppy seeds to this recipe.

What do I do with leftover Madeira loaf?

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or cake tin and are best eaten within three days of baking.  If, for some strange reason, you leave it to long and your Madeira loaf becomes slightly stale…enjoy it warm with custard or make a trifle!

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