Have you ever made a Madeira Cake? I watched Mary Berry make one on the Great British Bake Off Masterclass and it seemed like a fun place to start. Sure, everyone else had the same idea last year but hey, it’s still tasty! I believe that either orange or lemon is traditional, but lemon seems more common. Some time I’ll try a lemon version, but for now I’m loving this Orange Madeira Cake. It is lovely all on its own, but while it was baking I decided to experiment with making a glaze and it makes the whole cake shine!
This may seem more like a fall or winter cake but don’t let that stop you. The refreshing orange flavor baked into a simple but tasty package is perfect for summer as well. Contrary to the name it does not actually have Madeira in it. The cake itself is a British classic with the earliest known recipe for it appearing in an English cookbook published in 1845. Sipping a glass of Madeira while eating a piece of this deliciously crumbly cake became such a fixture among the upper classes that eventually they just renamed it Madeira Cake! Personally I love a good hot cup of black tea with my cake, but I’d be interested to know how it is with Madeira. If you try it drop me a comment and let me know what you think.
After looking through many different Madeira Cake recipes I decided to come up with my own variation. Adding yogurt may be a little unusual for Madeira Cake but it provides a nice boost of moisture. This keeps it from ending up with a dry crumb after baking so long. You’ll notice that the glaze darkens the top quite a bit and creates a nice thin crust of sugar and spice that blends beautifully with the summery orange flavor of the cake.
Did I extol the virtues of this Orange Madeira Cake yet? Let me remedy that! While yours is baking, sit back and bask in that beautiful sweet, citrus, butter smell that permeates the house and make the neighbors jealous. Use plenty of self-control and make sure you brush all the glaze onto the cake. I’ve been told it’s drinkable but you want it all on the cake! Once the cake is cool, top it with candied orange slices (directions are here), candied peel or just a dusting of powdered sugar. Cut yourself a piece of this fragrant crumbly cake (and maybe share one too)!
It’s fine to make this cake ahead because it tastes equally good cool. It might even be better on the second day as the flavors continue to develop! I would store it airtight at room temperature for 2-3 days. After that (if there’s any left) in the fridge. I’m sure you could wrap it and freeze it as well, although I haven’t done it myself. If you make this let me know what you think!
A lovely twist on traditional madeira cake. The refreshing orange flavor of the cake is enhanced by a cinnamon spice glaze. Enjoy yours with tea or wine!
- 1 3/4 cups (230g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- zest of one orange – I used a large Navel
- 1 stick (113g) butter
- 3/4 cup (180g) sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup (62g) plain greek yogurt
- 3 Tbsp orange juice (fresh)
- 1tsp vanilla extract
FOR THE GLAZE:
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 2 tsp Captain’s spiced rum (or sub 1 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tsp water)
- 1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- Pre-heat oven to 340F (170C) and grease an 8″ round pan.
- Zest and juice a large orange.
- Combine flour baking powder and orange zest – set aside.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time and beat well in between.
- Add yogurt, vanilla and orange juice and mix gently.
- Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Pour into cake pan and bake for 45 minutes. Check after 40 minutes – don’t worry if it develops a crack down the middle. That is the mark of a good Madeira Cake!
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing.
- Put sugar, rum, orange juice, and cinnamon into a small pan. With the lid on bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Brush all the glaze onto your cake with a pastry brush – this way you can make sure every inch is well coated!
- Top with candied orange slices if desired and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
I used well ripened navel oranges for this cake. Depending on the size of your orange you may be able to get all 4 Tablespoons of juice for the cake and glaze from one orange.
Set your oven rack into the middle or lower middle of the oven – this will make sure that your cake doesn’t over brown before it is fully baked.
A perfect Madeira Cake will have a crack down the middle!
Keywords: cake, madeira cake, orange cake, dessert recipe, cake recipe, winter dessert, fall cake