Madeira Cake

Total Time

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 45 min. + cooling


12 servings

Updated: Jun. 27, 2023
This classic British Madeira cake is often served with Madeira wine, which is how it got its name. Similar to a pound cake, it is commonly flavored with lemon and can also be served with tea or other sweet liqueurs. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line bottom of a greased 8x4-in. loaf pan with parchment; grease parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in lemon zest. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, whisk flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture.
  3. Transfer to prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Madeira Cake Tips

Why does my Madeira cake have a crack?

Many denser cakes can crack while baking. This is often caused by the top of the cake setting too quickly, which cracks when the cake's center then cooks and expands. This can happen due to too-high temperatures, often caused by an oven out of calibration or a rack positioned too high inside the oven. Use an oven thermometer to double check your oven's temperature, and make sure your rack is set in the middle or a little lower before you preheat.

Why is my Madeira cake dry?

The biggest culprit is often too much flour. The simplest solution is to weigh the flour for this Madeira cake recipe with a kitchen scale to get the exact amount correct. However, even with the right amount of flour, over-mixing your batter will make it tougher and drier with each stir. Only mix until the ingredients are combined and then stop! Resist the temptation to continue to stir.

How should I store Madeira cake?

This classic British teatime cake is similar in texture to many American pound cakes. And like other pound cakes, it’s best stored in an airtight container, or wrapped in parchment or foil, at room temperature for up to 4 days. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. (In fact, the fridge will actually dry out your cakes.)

James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Culinary Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 304 calories, 17g fat (10g saturated fat), 87mg cholesterol, 100mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.