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« The Espresso Room. London WC1 | Main | Hot Chocolate in London »

14 October 2009


In our family it was called a plain cake or a nice plain cake even when it was eaten with a glass of Madeira (something my grandma was rather fond of at about 4 in the afternoon.)I make something similar to this with reassuring regularity, my recipe is pretty similar but I love good advice so will be tweaking it with your measurements (thankyou for the grams can't get my head round the cups)and kindly advice.
Your thoughts and words and discoveries you share here keep me in touch with my home city whilst I continue to live in my adopted one and for that I am very very grateful

Hello Rachel, this is the kind of compliment that is the fuel of eggbeater. Thank you for taking the time to read & comment. ~ shuna

You can't beat a good Madeira...

Wait a second MsMarmiteLover... I've said so many words. I am American. You are British. You have an Aga. I don't. What do you think? What say you, eater of many a Madeira Cake? When you say this, do you mean that you have approved my 'Madeira Cake'? Please, please say more. ? ~shuna

The rosemary is a lovely addition....or serve with some rosemary scented applesauce. Or add caraway seeds for a seedcake.
Dougal x

MMmm, looks delicious! I love to see your recipes since they are so nice and precise. My eggs are always very variable in size so its good to weigh instead.

It was an enormous pleasure to meet you recently in London, you were somehow nothing like I expected, so much prettier and more fragile than you come across on your blog.

Argh just seen can't beat it...means I think it's one of the best cakes going...especially, I'm sure, when you make it!

Shuna - enjoyed this post very much. Have been a reader of your blog for 2+ years and have laughed and teared-up over some of your adventures in London-town. I always like it when you tell a baking story. I've learned a lot from you and marvel at your ability to improvise with a baking recipe. To me, baking is so "chemistry" and I've been reluctant to alter a smidgen of a recipe. BUT, after RATIO came out, I read it from cover to cover. And a few cooking classes here and there have helped give me courage to change things. My guess is that culinary school-trained chefs just "know" these things. We home cooks don't. But with Ratio and other books (like Harold McGee's) we home cooks have more knowledge.

Keep sharing. Love your words, your poetry. Keep writing.

it's great with a glass of dessert wine...Madera or other!

hi please tell me the number of eggs required in this recipe i don't have anything to weigh the eggs.

also you don't mention mention whether the eggs and yolks should be weighed with or without the shells. it's very confusing. obviously the yolks will be weighed without shells but what about the eggs? please just tell me how many eggs and yolks you use. pleeeeeeeeeeeeease thank you.

Hello Jenny, here is some info I got from googling egg weight/sizes:

UK egg sizes

New Size Weight Old Size

Very Large 73g +over Size 0
Size 1

Large 63 - 73g Size 1
Size 2
Size 3

Medium 53 - 63g Size 3
Size 4
Size 5

Small 53g +under Size 5
Size 6
Size 7

US egg sizes

Egg sizes Average weight

Jumbo 2 1/2 oz (71g)
Extra-large 2 1/4 oz (64g)
Large 2 oz (57g)
Medium 1 3/4 oz (50g)
Small 1 1/2 oz (43g)
Peewee 1 1/4 oz (35g)

That should help, although I don't know what country you're in... There's also a link to the American version of this cake, called Yellow Cake that has the number of eggs needed.

Egg shells are never part of the weight equation as they don't become part of the cake. In baking we assume an egg white is about 2/3rds of the total weight. With this recipe, if you are going to make an error, add more egg yolks than less. Let me know if you need more assistance-- this cake is definitely worth it! ~ Shuna

when i asked you that question i put my hands together and made a silent prayer that you would reply before tommorrow because thats when im having a gathering with some friends so i wanted make a cake, thanks soo much you solved my dilemma i love your writing style its so quirky :-),so im gonna use 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks and im in uk so i guess ill be using medium eggs,hope i got that right and im going to bake it in a round cake tin, ill let you know how it turns out!!

one last question -sorry im such a moron when it comes to cooking,what exactly is dry wet dry wet method?are the eggs mixed with the milk in a seperate bowl?and the flour in a seperate bowl and you and them in seperately to the sugar and butter mixture?

Jenny, please read through the Yellow Cake post, as it has the full description of the method on this cake. ~ Shuna

hi,i see you have used a loaf tin for the cake any particular reason why you havent used a round cake tin?and please let me know the size of the loaf tin i should use,thanks

Hello Alice, I have photographed using a restangle tin but I have used just about any sort of baking vessel you can think of! I make few rules...

'Rule of thumb,' though, with this batter: do not overfill baking vessel more than 1/2 way up sides of deep vessels. It's a wet, fatty batter that needs a lot of time to bake if in a deeper something, so you don't want to overbake the whole in order to bake it through. Make sense? Let me know if you need more guidance than this... Shuna

Hi Shuna,

I live in the UK and I would LOVE to try your Madeira cake recipe but could you please advice me on the height of the cake tins needed? I've got 9X2" and 8"X2" deep tins, are those too deep for the batter. Many thanks.

Hello Wen, The best advice I can give you is: make sure tins are filled no more than slightly more than half way. I know that's a convoluted way of answering your question but I don't have a tin right now that I can measure to give you an exact answer. I liked baking this cake in various kinds of tins and would say it worked in all-- small & large. ~ Shuna

Hi Shuna,
I have tried your Madeira cake recipe three times now, and I can honestly say that it is absolutely delicious!!! My family keeps commenting how buttery, tasty and moist it is. The only minor adjustment I have made is to reduce the sugar a little to 350gr because otherwise it gets a bit too sweet when frosted (for us anyway!). I bake it in two 9" cake pans and it always comes out perfect. The only problem I've had is when I tried to make cupcakes. I filled the cases only half way but the batter still overflowed. Would you advice reducing the baking powder for the cupcakes version of your cake? and if I use less sugar, do I need to use less butter as well?...Anyway, thank you very much for sharing your wonderful recipes! Wen.

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