Madeira Cake is easy, basic, buttery-ish, great for decorating, perfect for dunking! One of my favourite plain cakes. I love using Madeira Cakes for celebration cakes because its dense texture makes it easier to handle and it lasts for up to 2 weeks. Not only does it last a long time, its dense texture makes it the perfect cake for decorating with buttercream and fondant (sugar paste).
You’ll find handy hints on baking and cake pan sizes at the end.
Madeira Cake Tips
As Madeira cakes have a dome shape when baked, you could try scooping out the middle of the batter and leaving a little hole in the middle before placing in the oven. This does help produce a flatter top but I don’t bother.
However, you could try placing a flower nail in the middle of your cake pan. I find that this does reduce the dome dramatically.
To level the cake, once you’ve released it from the cake tin, put a saucer in the cake tin and place the cake on top of it. You could then just slice off the dome using the top of the cake tin as a marker.
The cake will easily last a week (even 2) if kept in an airtight container, to stop it drying out. This means that if you are decorating it, you can take a couple of days for complicated ideas! Just remember to use a milk free buttercream icing!
For a rainbow look when you slice the cake, just divide the batter up into 2 or 3 portions and colour with food colouring of your choice. My granny used to do this with her butter cakes and we grew up calling them rainbow cakes. I like to do this for girls’ birthday cakes and always get a reaction.
Greasing and Lining Cake Pans
In reply to a question posed by a reader, how to know whether to line or not, as written in my recipe card:
Many cake tins used to need lining. These days though, you have the silicone sort and also non lining types. So if yours is an older style tin, grease, line, grease. The first greasing of the pan is to ensure that the baking paper sticks to the pan. Makes filling the tin with the batter so much easier, as the baking paper won’t be moving around in your tin.
Cake pans that don’t need lining will just require some light greasing. If you have just bought your cake pan, it should have instructions. If in doubt, just grease, line and grease.
Cake Pan Conversions (Scaling Up Cake Recipes)
My cake pans all have a depth of between 3 – 4 inches (about 7.5 – 10 cm). You definitely want to use a cake pan that has a minimum depth of 3″ (7.5 cm), to allow for the rise.
Starting with the above recipe, multiply by the corresponding quantity for each size.
4″/10cm – divide by 2.5 bake for about 40 minutes
6″/15cm – divide by 1.5 bake for about 45 – 50 minutes
7″/17cm – divide by 1 and a quarter (1.25) and bake for about 50 minutes
9″/23cm – x 1 and a quarter (1.25) bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes
10″/25cm – x 1.5 bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes
11″/28cm – x 2 bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes
12″/30cm – x 2.5 bake for about 1 hour 30 minutes
How to use Flower Nails for baking cakes?
For larger cakes, above 10″, I would suggest that you use flower nails when baking your cake. This is a flower nail. The reason for this is so the middle of your cake will bake more evenly. As the metal flower nail heats up, it will conduct heat to the batter in the middle, so the sides don’t bake and brown way before the middle.
I much prefer using flower nails to a heating core.
Flower nails can also help to reduce the dome shape of a cake. Madeira cakes do tend to have dome shapes because of their higher moisture content.
How many you use will depend on the size of the cake. You can use more than one, placed at intervals, if necessary, especially if you are baking a long cake. This is how you do it:
- Grease your flower nails. I hate all specially formulated cake release, and only ever use butter for greasing.
- Place your nails upside down in the cake tin.
- Pour the batter over and bake. Remove the cake nails before slicing/decorating.
What are Cake Baking Strips?
Cake baking strips are insulating strips that are place around a cake pan to stop the edges of the cake from baking too quickly, and therefore browning too much. Cakes with a high liquid content, tend to brown quicker, especially eggless cakes.
So baking strips are perfect for eggless cakes.
If you are baking large cakes, these baking strips also come in handy, you can use them on their own, or in conjunction with flower nails.
Converting round to square cake pans
Move down in number by 1 inch. For e.g.:
8″ round cake pan = 7″ square cake pan
9″ round cake pan = 8″ square cake pan
Other Cake Pan Shapes
Round cake tins = Petal tins (i.e., same measurements)
8″ round tin = 8″ petal tin
Square cake tins = Hexagonal tins
8″ square cake tin = 8″ hexagonal cake tin
You’ll also find lots of helpful tutorials like how to ice and fill a cake and how to cover a cake with fondant or sugarpaste icing.
Before we head on over to the recipe, here are some cakes on this site that use the Madeira Cake:
More cake ideas: