Madeira cake recipe – step by step photos – how to freeze – making your own recipe

This Madeira cake recipe makes a light, simple sponge. Here are step by step instructions, with photos, on how to make this classic cake.
Madeira cake


This week I’m revisiting one the posts I published when I first started Holly Cooks – the Madeira cake recipe. I have updated the photography and taken some step by step images that I hope you will find useful.

What is Madeira Cake?

Madeira cake is similar to a pound cake or yellow cake – a simple sponge cake. A Madeira cake recipe has a similar weight of eggs, butter and sugar but slightly more flour or flour equivalent. In the recipe below I have added 55g/2oz of ground almonds to increase the amount of flour/flour equivalent. The ground almonds give it a texture. Madeira cake is slightly firmer than a Victoria Sponge. It’s a simple cake which is easy to make and have in the cupboard, or freezer for those unexpected ‘I need a cake now’ moments.
madeira cake recipe instructions

Freezing Madeira Cake

Let it cool completely and then wrap in two layers of cling film and ideally place in a zip lock bag. If it’s too big for a zip lock bag I would add another layer of cling film. You don’t want any ice crystals getting to the cake. Then pop it in your freeze. It will be happy in there for about a month. To defrost simply take it out and let it come back up to room temperature still in the cling film/zip lock bag. Then serve.

Making your own Madeira Cake recipe

Once you are confident with a Madeira cake recipe then suddenly there are a whole load of options that open up to you. You can add fruit, dried fruit, lemon, nuts, cocoa, top it with icing or frosting (here’s my favourite icing for a Madeira Cake) of different flavours.  You can create the cake you want to make by adding your chosen extra ingredients, say a lemon and fig, to the standard Madeira cake recipe batter. How much lemon zest and figs should you add? Well why not start with the zest of one lemon and 75g of chopped fresh figs and see whether that works for you?  Or JUMP TO OTHER RECIPES in this post for some other great alternative Madeira cake recipes.  For more tips on making sponge cakes read this blog post ‘Victoria or Madeira sponge cake?’.


Madeira cake recipe

Madeira Cake

This cake will keep well in an air tight container for three days.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 slices


  • 170 g / 6 oz butter
  • 170 g / 6 oz caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 170 g / 6 oz self raising flour
  • 55g / 2 oz ground almonds

2 lb loaf tin / 23 x 13 x 7 cm / 9 x 5 x 3”


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C / 150°C fan / 340°F / Gas mark 4.
  2. Grease and line the cake tin.
  3. In a large bowl beat the butter until it’s soft with an electric whisk, alternatively use a strong arm and a wooden spoon. Add the caster sugar and beat until it’s all combined and the mixture has turned a pale yellow colour. This may take up to a minute of beating, the aim is to get lots of air into the mixture.
  4. Add an egg at a time and beat well to combine.
  5. Sift the flour on top of the butter mixture and then add the grounds almonds. Now using a metal spoon fold the flour and almonds into the butter mixture. The moment the flour is combined stop mixing, as further mixing is likely to remove the air you added earlier.
  6. Using the metal spoon, spoon the mixture into the tin. Gently smooth the top and put straight into the pre heated oven.
  7. The cake will take 55 minutes – 1hr. It’s done when it’s shrunk back from the side of the tin, springs back under the weight of your finger and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Resist the temptation to open the oven door early.
  8. When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 15 minutes to cool and then remove from the tin onto a cooling rack.

Other Madeira Cake recipes

This Zesty Lemon and Blueberry Madeira Cake by Supper in the Suburbs is inspired by none other than The Great British Bake Off.

Lots of Madeira cakes have lemon in them, this Zingy Citrus Madeira Cake from Lakeland takes that to a different level.

I would never have thought of putting parsnip in a Madeira cake, but that’s exactly what Veggie Desserts has done in their Parsnip Madeira Cake.

15 thoughts on “Madeira cake recipe – step by step photos – how to freeze – making your own recipe

  1. My daughter and I just made this Madeira Cake and it is beautiful. We just had some after supper and it was so delicious and moist. And I’m a first time baker 🙂 Thank you for this great recipe.

    1. Hi Mita,

      Using some maths I think you would need a 19.5cm/ 7 1/2″ round tin. But I haven’t tried this recipe myself in a round tin, so would be interested to hear how you get on.


  2. Hi Holly
    Can I add lemon to this cake?

    I really I would like to make a lemon and blueberry cake but not sure how this would affect the cake. Do you have any tips please?

    Thank you


  3. Hi Holly
    Thanks so much for replying and for finding a suitable recipe too. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again for the inspiration.

    Best wishes


  4. Hi holly, looking to make this cake for my sons birthday cake. Is it possible to make this into a chocolate cake, if so what would you add to it and would you reduce any of the other ingredients?


    1. Hi Jules,

      I recently made a chocolate Madeira by replacing 1/2 tbsp of flour with cocoa. This was a very small cake, for a larger one, I’d replace up to 50g with cocoa. This will give you the brown colour and a very gently chocolate flavour. I then used chocolate ganache as icing to give a richer chocolate taste. Hope that helps. Holly

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