Nigella’s Mother-in-Law’s Madeira Cake

This week’s I Heart Cooking Club’s theme is Baker’s Delight.  I was very excited when I saw this week’s theme given my crack-like addiction to sugar.  I knew I could easily find a delicious Nigella creation to make.  This is definitely one of those “sleeper” recipes……deceptively easy to make but absolutely delicious.  After preparing this, I know for a fact I need to invest in a kitchen scale.  I sat here with a calculator and pencil doing the conversions and started praying for the best after closing the oven door.  It’s nowhere near as beautiful as Nigella’s, and that may be partially due to my “calculations.”  Therefore, I’m going to post the recipe as it was written by Nigella.  It was still good, though.  I served it with sliced strawberries, cause that’s my hubby’s fave.

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Nigella’s Mother-in-Law’s Madeira Cake


  • 240g softened unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (I didn’t have any superfine sugar, so I buzzed regular sugar in my food processor for a bit.)
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 210g self-raising flour
  • 90g plain flour
  • 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and lined


  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, and add the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each. Then gently mix in the rest of the flour and, finally, the lemon juice. Sprinkle with caster sugar (about 2 tablespoons should do it) as it goes into the oven, and bake for 1 hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.


Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 2:33 pm  Comments (25)  

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25 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Looks good to me!! But…is there Madeira in it????

    • lol I wondered why they called it a Madeira cake as well considering it didn’t contain any. I looked online and apparently is was named such because Madeira was served with it.

      • LOL!!! I bet it would soak some up pretty nicely 🙂

  2. That sure looks good to me! Looks like you nailed pretty good!

    • Thanks a lot, BD!

  3. That looks seriously delish!

    • Thank you, Cheryl!

  4. I was just thinking that I needed a kitchen scale too!! It sure would be helpful, wouldn’t it? Sounds like a great cake to serve with all kinds of toppings – yum!! Looks like you did a great job making it, even without the scale 😀

    • Thanks, Kim! With the flavor it has, there’s a lot of stuff you could serve with it. You could also tweek the flavorings in the cake to come up with something different there as well.

  5. I finally broke down and got a scale several weeks ago and it is very helpful. I like the fact that the one I bough converts it to/from metric. Your cake looks wonderful–perfect with the berries!

    • Thanks, Deb! I’ll have to get a scale like yours. No more calculator and pencil for me!

  6. I am with Deb – you will be very happy with a scale that does both metric and imperial.
    I was wondering if Nigella’s books were translated in the U.S.
    Canada is officially metric, but we are used to using whatever because we have a lot of American books and such here.
    The cake does look lovely, perfect for tea and a little madeira!

    • Thanks, Natashya! That’s the type of scale I’m gonna go for then. You and Deb are definitely the experts :). I found this particular recipe on Nigella’s website. I’m pretty sure the books here are converted, just like her recipes on Food Network. But regardless, I’m still getting a scale cause there is too much good stuff to try that requires it.

  7. Don’t take this wrong, but I think your photo, sure is a nice picture of you.. honest complement.

    • Lol Thanks a lot, BD! I really appreciate it since I think I generally take crappy pics 🙂

  8. Sounds like a delicious snack cake and it colored so evenly, gorgeous!!

    • Thanks, Donna!

      • I’m going to get one this weekend WC! There are a crapload of recipes I want to try, especially for bread, that require a scale.

  9. Sure does look perfect to me. I’ll bet it was really good with the fruit.

    • Thanks, Cassie! It was really good with the strawberries.

  10. Oh, a digital kitchen scale is one of the best investments you can make as a home cook – trust me. It will open up a whole new world to you!

  11. simple and fantastic–this cake is the perfect vehicle for strawberries in their juices and a heap of whipped cream. 🙂

    • It was quite good with the strawberries, Grace 🙂

  12. Try toasting a slice and serving it warm with ice cream…out of this world delicious!

    • Holy crap, Michelle, that sounds fantastic! I’m gonna have to try that!

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