Saturday, 17 November 2012

Madeira Cake – A Random Recipe

This month Dom of Belleau Kitchen has asked us to use our birthday as a way of selecting the book for his Random Recipe challenge. So that's the number eight. Strangely the eighth book on the first three shelves that I selected turned out to be a book that I'd already used in the Random Recipe challenge and so I tried the pile of books known as ‘the pile that I'm not quite sure what to do with for the moment’. Book number eight turned out to be ‘The Edmonds Cookery Book’.

It’s unlikely that I'll ever get to New Zealand to confirm it but I'm led to believe that this book is a bit of a national institution there. It was first published in 1907, has never been out of print (although it has been regularly updated) and at one time it was given away free to any couple announcing their engagement. My copy was printed in the 1990s (a fair bit after my engagement) and how I came to own it remains a mystery.

The book is bursting at the seams with straightforward, everyday recipes and on opening it I was faced with the recipe for Madeira Cake. This seemed a little disappointing at first but a random recipe can’t always be an unusual recipe and so I just got on with making it. Then, as the smell of baking filled the house, I realised that I hadn't eaten a homemade Madeira Cake for over 30 years and, what's more, it really is a very good, classic cake.
Madeira Cake
I could pass on the Edmonds recipe for Madeira cake but, to be honest, it’s just a basic Madeira cake. If you don’t already have a favourite recipe, this version on the BBC food site by James Martin is very similar to the Edmonds cake and tells you everything you need to know. (Mr Martin does decorate the cake, which, for some reason, never seems quite right to me).

So this month the Random Recipe challenge has reminded me that it's too easy to forget the classics and that there are very good reasons why they became classics in the first place. I do remember making this kind of cake in the 1960s using a large ceramic bowl and a wooden spoon and so it's also reminded me what a pleasure it is having an electric mixer with a beater attachment.
Madeira Cake
The cake is great with tea but do try a slice with a little sweet or fortified wine if the mood takes you – that’s why it's called Madeira cake, after all.

21 comments:

  1. Great looking cake!
    As you say, the classics are classics for a reason!
    One of my recipes lays two slivers of glacé lemon on top of the cake before baking - just to relieve the plain-ness, I think.

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  2. To save you the trip (although it is worth a visit!), I can confirm that The Edmond's Cookery Book is indeed a national institution over here in NZ! The latest edition can even be found for sale in my small supermarket, right next to the Edmond's baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cornflour. I don't think I've ever actually tried making Madeira cake – a cake with Madeira in its name but no Madeira actually in it has always seemed a little suspicious to me – but it might be time to change that! I'll look the recipe up next time I go shopping…

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  3. Somiglia molto al nostro pan di spagna, da gustare così o come base per torte da farcire. Un classico intramontabile!!

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  4. glad to be of service... and what service... what a stunning cake... there really is nothing greater than a classic madeira, so rich and buttery and look at the rise on it... it's mammoth... thanks so much for taking part this month Phil x

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  5. Well I certainly do hope this book has made its way out of your not sure what to do with it pile! That cake looks amazing! Being an Aussie I'm not that up to speed with Kiwi baking books, but I do know it is indeed an institution ;0)

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  6. I love Madeira cake. It reminds me of church coffee mornings and jumble sales, holding my mum's hand as we sat at trestle tables on folding chairs, drinking cups of tea from large battered tin teapots and waiting for someone to - at last - cut into the cake.......

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  7. It's a beautiful cake. Simple, but beautiful. I have to confess that I rarely make Madeira cake, but seeing yours has made me want to - the texture of the crumb is the appealing thing I think.

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  8. You certainly master the art of baking Phil. This cake has risen perfectly. Beautiful.

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  9. That is one beautiful looking madeira cake... I do love it with a cup of tea, but now you mentioned the wine, I have to give that a go :) afternoon tea about to get wild... lol.

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  10. I have a great Madeira cake recipe and it is delicious. I also have not made it for a while. Thanks for the reminder. Have a good week. Diane

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  11. Haven't made a Madeira cake before, so thanks for this. I'll definitely add it to my list of things to try over Christmas.

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  12. This is beautiful. I have seen a few different recipes in my cookbooks but I haven't tried to bake one yet. This looks so nice with some tea or wine :)

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  13. That is a seriously beautiful cake!

    I have a new blog party going on called Pantry Party. I'm hoping you'll join me and maybe share some cakes like this!

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  14. Another gorgeous looking cake - greatly admire your photos, always :) This is one of my favorite cakes and yours look utterly delicious!

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  15. Though I'm an Aussie, I am more than familiar with The Edmonds Cookbook which pops up on blog posts on this side on the world on fairly regular basis. A dear departed friend cooked from it all her life and was (and will probably always be) the best baker I have ever known. I loved her Afghan Biscuits. Thanks for your post and even though the cake is simple, I loved your photos of this classic

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  16. Isn't it funny that for some, this is a classic, and for others (like me) it is completely new.I suspect that this cake would be at home at the elegant dinner party or sitting humbly on the sideboard at tea. Having it with a small glass of Malmsey would, indeed, be a treat!

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  17. This looks like THE most textbook perfect madeira cake ever - fantastic job!

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  18. What a lovely cake! So light and tall. I agree about the icing but I would be tempted to give this just a shake or two of icing sugar. Not that it's not perfect exactly as it is!

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  19. I LOVE Madeira cake - and I agree that decorating it is just wrong. Hmm. Haven't made one for a while actually...

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  20. I've never made or eaten Madeira cake and I'm not really sure why! It ticks all my cake boxes and the lack of icing is just another plus point for me. My Mum used to have to manhandle me away from the cakes when I was little as I would start eating them before she could ice them!

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