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A Simple Madeira Cake // 1940s

Sometimes you just need a good slice of madeira. Nothing fancy, just a good old slice of plain sponge cake to enjoy with a cuppa.
This 1940s recipe gives you a lovely, soft madeira loaf. We used ours to make up the cake base of a trifle, but couldn't help but guzzle the end slices first. Delish!
Original Recipe: 'Madeira Cake' (Book 6, 1943)
Speed: 5 mins to prepare, 25 mins to bake | Serves: About 10


  • 85g margarine

  • 85g sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 128g plain flour

  • ¼ tsp. baking powder

  • 1 slice of lemon peel (zest)



1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C fan (358°F/Gas Mark 4). Grease a loaf tin and coat with greaseproof paper.

2. Cream together the margarine and the sugar, and then add in the eggs a little at a time, mixing until fully combined.

3. Sift in the flour, then add in the baking powder and mix after each addition to combine. Then, tip into your prepared loaf tin and top with a long slice of lemon peel.

Note: The lemon peel will almost certainly burn (ours did!) which won't look pretty... but funnily enough, it didn't taste burnt, so it's up to you if you add it or not! If you're going for photogenic, leave it off - it'll look pretty rustic without the lemon :)

4. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked through, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.


Original Recipe for 'Madeira Cake'

BOOK 6: Manual of Modern Cookery, 7th Edition (1943) Author: Jessie Lindsay & V.H. Mottram Publisher: University of London Press Ltd. (War-Time Address: St. Hugh's School, Bickley, Kent, England, U.K.)

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