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A Majestic Madeira Cake (Random Recipe #11) You still have time…

December 24, 2011

Random Recipes #11 embraces the spirit of Christmas. The December challenge from Dom at Belleau Kitchen  was to make something from a cookbook  that you were happy to give away, and then donate that book to a charity shop.

Good Housekeeping’s Cakes and Pastries

I chose a book which, while it may look like a shoddy gift is actually incredibly useful and if I’m honest  I’m slightly regretting agreeing to part with it, but a promise is a promise. The book is Good Housekeeping’s cakes and pastries. It was given to me by someone having a clear out and has a brilliant section at the front full of tips. It has been well loved by several homes and now it’s off to a new one.

Handy tips

Madeira cake is a bit of a tradition in our house as an alternative to the standard Christmas cake (since about 3/4 of us aren’t massive fans of marzipan or dried fruit).  My Dad grew up having the cake at Christmas and still enjoys it if it’s there,  but sometimes it gets missed in the flurry of trying to fit in everyone’s special requests.  So, I decided to make one to take with me on a surprise visit for his birthday on the 16th December. In the Rickson household there is a very imporatant addition to Madeira cake which must not, under any circumstances be forgotten: it has a thick dark chocolate lid on it. This shatters satisfyingly as you cut into it and means that you always have to nibble the extra bit which fell off (or fight your siblings for it). When I mentioned to Mum that I was making the cake for him, she was quick to remind me of the importance of the chocolate lid – that’s how important it is.   Maybe it was because young kids don’t want just a plain cake, or maybe it was a Christmas treat, but I love the plain cake with a hint of citrus and that dark chocolate which makes it feel a bit naughty but not too sickly after all those other sweets. I didn’t manage to get a picture with the chocolate

I was really pleased with how the cake came out. It rose very well and looked rather imposing. It’s like a truckle of cake!

A truckle of cake?

Madeira Cake 

from Good Housekeeping’s Cakes and Pastries

8 oz plain flour
A pinch of salt
2 tsps baking powder
A little grated lemon rind
5 oz sugar
5 oz butter
3 eggs
milk to mix
Citron peel (they don’t say how much, I just sprinkled a bit over the top)

Preheat overn to 350f,  gas mark 4
Seive the dry ingredients if you normally do (I often don’t bother)
Add the lemon rind
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Slowly beat in the eggs a little at a time
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with a little milk to loosen it
Pour the mixture into a prepared tin (7″  – if possible use a high sided tin as it makes the chocolate lid easier to do)
Sprinkle the peel over the top
Bake for between 1hr – 1hr 15 until firm
Leave cake to cool in the tin.

Melt chocolate in a bain-marie or in the microwave.
If you’ve used a high tin, you can pour the chocolate straight over the cake as the tin will keep it in a nice lid shape. Otherwise, take the cake out of the tin, wait for the chocolate to be a bit less than super-runny and using a spatula/back of a spoon/palette knife carefully smear it over the top of the cake. If you want to, you could use a fork to create a circular pattern on the top. put in the freezer for a few minutes to set the chocolate.

Rather majestic,  I think

This cake keeps really well, though it doesn’t often get chance to prove it!

pre-chocolate lid

I’m also submitting this to Frugal Food Friday as it’s got such cheap ingredients,  which means it’s great for the post-Christmas cut back. You could even melt down your left-over Christmas chocolates to make the “lid”.  Also, I recently had a very entertaining Twitter conversation with Helen who hosts it as FussFreeFlavours.com about over-the top food styling. I think I can safely say that I didn’t fall into that trap on this post!

Ps. Another good non-stodge Christmas cake option is this Marble Bundt Cake from Scrumptious Sally, which lasts very well too.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 26, 2011 8:47 am

    Oh I hopy you took a photo of it with the chocolate lid!!! I love Madera cake but very rarely make it. I guess it does get neglected. The Good Housekeeping book is worth keeping for nostalgia purposes only I feel. Those old photos are great. Thanks for taking part and merry Christmas xxx

  2. December 26, 2011 9:26 am

    I’ll try and get a photo of a slice…I think it’s getting eaten today so I’ll have to wrestle it out of the way for a quick photo shoot! Merry Christmas

  3. December 27, 2011 6:27 pm

    Love looking cake and I like the sound of a chocolate lid!

  4. December 27, 2011 7:37 pm

    The lid is up now. See the newer post.

  5. December 31, 2011 9:51 am

    Love the chocolate lid idea! And what an awesome old book – I’m sure it will go on to make its new owner very happy and spread more cakey joy in 2012 :o)

  6. January 1, 2012 12:23 am

    came over from dom’s. madeira cake sounds lovely! definitely hope to see more in 2012, have a great new year’s!

  7. January 11, 2012 1:54 am

    And to you to Shu Han!

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