Baking: Madeira Cake

This is such a beautifully simple, elegant cake that I’ve been immensely fond of for years. The unusual texture – a confusing combination that can be best described as a “dense cloud” is wonderful. Whilst prepping for this I read a very interesting tip from Nigel Slater (I love him so much). He wrote that “creaming sugar and butter takes much longer than you think, so give it 8-10 minutes”. I was sceptical but thought I’d give it a go. Out came the KitchenAid and I set it away whilst I prepped everything else and pottered. The results were amazingly different compared to what I’m used to…

240g butter
200g caster sugar
1 tsp almond extract
3 large eggs
210g self raising flour
90g plain flour

Cream together butter and sugar. Give it at least 5 minutes. It goes from yellow, pale yellow to almost white.

Add one egg at a time, with a tablespoon of each flour with each egg. Then add the rest of the flour along with the almond extract. Sprinkle with two teaspoons of caster sugar just before putting in the oven.

Line a large loaf tin with baking parchment and pour mix in. My loaf tin was too small, the mix came right up to the rim, so I cautiously put the tin on top of a baking tray. Heat the oven at Gas Mark 3. Bake for 1 – 1 half hours or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. I ended up turning the oven up to gm4 for the last 20 mins. Next time I make this, I’ll be fiddling about with the quantities (maybe divide the mix in half) or cook at gm4.
However, despite the cake mix leaking, despite it taking a long time to cook, this cake turned out perfectly. Perfect colour, perfect taste and most importantly, perfect texture. I’m really proud it came out right first time.

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