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Madeira Wine Cake Recipe

I used to think that Madeira Cake was made with Madeira wine, the same way that liqueurs are often substituted in recipes.  It took a long time for me to realise that the Madeira Wine came in as the perfect accompaniment to a crumbly sponge cake.  I’d be tempted to use almost any sponge cake recipe for use as a Madeira cake, with the addition of some lemon for that citrusy taste to give the cake a tangy flavour.

Here, I’ve used a basic sponge cake recipe.

The accompaniment for sponge cake, to counteract crumbly dry texture, is always a sweet white wine.

Madeira wine from the Madeira Islands is particularly good for this, but choose a sweet variety to accompany cake for afternoon tea.

Unusually, Madeira wine is fortified (made by adding the Madeira spirit) and the flavour is created by heating the wine up to high temperatures and keeping those constant for a good period of time, which also helps to keep the wine for a long time when it’s opened.

Here is my Madeira Cake Recipe Using a Basic Sponge 

Madeira Sponge Cake Slices


  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 250g Butter
  • 250g Self-Raising Flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • Grated Rind of 1 Lemon


  1. Set the oven to a moderate temperature.  Around 160-170 C.
  2. Mix (cream) the sugar and butter together in a mixer or bowl until smooth.
  3. Add in the eggs and mix until smooth.
  4. Fold in the sifted flour until you have a cake mix texture without lumps and bumps, then fold in the grated lemon rind.
  5. Put the mixture into a loaf tin or two depending on the size.
  6. Bake for up to 35 minutes.  To find out if your cake is fully cooked, use a barbeque skewer to pierce the cake, and if it comes out clean, it’s fully cooked.  Adding a spray or two of cake release to the tins helps with removing your cake once it’s cooked.
  7. When your cake is cool, and I mean cool, slice it in the same way you would a loaf of bread.  If you slice it hot, the cake may crumble into tiny pieces.
  8. Serve and enjoy with a glass of Madeira Wine.  Tesco have a great selection of sweet white wines.

Written for Tesco.

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