Madeira Cake

An excellent cake to serve up for tea, or as a base for that special birthday or simply for World Baking Day!


-250 g softened butter or margarine (250 ml)
-380 g castor sugar (465 ml)
-5 large eggs
-360 g cake flour (650 ml)
-10 ml baking powder
-5 ml vanilla essence
-250 ml milk


1. Preheat your oven to 190ºC/170ºC fan/Gas mark 5.
2. Grease the sides and base of a 22 – 24 cm cake tin. Line the base with a baking paper round, grease again.
3. Using an electric food mixer, cream butter or margarine, and add sugar gradually. Cream until very light and fluffy.
4. Add in eggs one by one, beating well.
5. Sift cake flour and baking powder together.
6. Add vanilla essence into milk.
7. Add sifted dry ingredients, alternately with milk mixture.
8. Pour into prepared pan. Level the cake mixture.
9. Bake for approximately 60 – 65 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
10. Allow to cool slightly, turn cake out onto a cooling rack.
11. Serve as is, or make a glacé icing and pour over cake; decorate with cherries or lemon peel.

Vanilla Buttercream:

Professional bakers use a ratio of 500 g butter to 2 kg icing sugar. Normally, butter is used for flavour, but if a sparkling white icing is required, use white margarine. Work on a ratio of 260 g icing sugar (500 ml) to every 100 g soft butter and 30 ml milk, plus 5 ml vanilla essence. To make a larger batch, you could use 520 g icing sugar (4 x 250 ml), 200 g butter and 60 ml of milk plus 7 ml vanilla essence; or 1 260 g icing sugar, 300 g butter and 90 ml milk plus 10 ml vanilla essence.  250 g unsalted butter (250 ml), softened


1. In a large electric food mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
2. Sift the icing sugar.
3. Fold in the icing sugar in 125 ml portions; mix well on a medium speed.
4. Add milk and vanilla essence alternately with icing sugar.
5. Continue to beat until a good icing consistency is reached.
6. Use as required. Store excess in a sealed container in the refrigerator.