Simple Citrus Madeira Loaf Cake


Summer is well and truly coming to an end *cries endlessly* which means back to work, school and rain. But whilst it’s an end of pimms, summer fruit tarts and sun, it’s a start of hot cups of tea and warm sponge cakes and who could complain about that? This citrus madeira cake is so simple yet so delicious. The sweet aroma fills the entire house whilst cooking and makes a perfect afternoon treat snuggled on the sofa!


This recipe is adapted from the legend Delia Smith, who uses the classic lemon zest. However, my recipe uses a mix of both lemon and orange zest creating the perfect zing in such a plain cake


The cake has very little ingredients and can be whisked up together all in one bowl, which means less washing up! The batter is much thicker and creamier than average sponge cakes so don’t be alarmed if once you’ve whisked everything together it seems “dry” as trust me, it wont taste dry once it’s baked!


A tip for the butter – microwave! Many recipes call for “softened butter,” but for a simple cake like this (which you usually have all the ingredients for in your cupboard already), you will not want to wait for your butter to soften. I tend to take the butter straight from the fridge, weigh and cut into strips or cubes. In the microwave for 10-15 seconds and the butter will become slightly warm. Using a spatula, work the butter together making it really soft and creamy. This is how the cake gets its rich, velvety texture throughout! (be careful not to microwave for longer than 10 seconds at a time as it could melt the butter instead of soften)


Many people struggle with lining a loaf tin. The most simple way to do it is by cutting two different strips of baking paper. One lengthways and one crosswise, greasing with butter and lightly sprinkle some flour to avoid sticking even further


Madeira cake is always known for its crack! (ha). Usually one long thick crack across the cake, it’s not a Madeira cake without one and if you follow this recipe – you will get it!


The soft, fluffy texture is just divine! I tend to serve mine with a drizzle of honey and some raspberries or yummy custard. You could even serve it with a warm berry compote – mouth watering.

If you tend to shy away from baking, this recipe is the one to try. Simple, easy, yet so inviting. Give this recipe a go and let me know how you get on!

Citrus Madeira Loaf

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy as pie
  • Print

A perfect pick-me-up to eat snuggled on the sofa. Sharing is optional!


  • 230g Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 180g Unsalted Butter, Cubed.
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 115g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 Lemon zest
  • 1 Orange zest
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice or milk


  1. Preheat oven to 150ºC Fan/170ºC/325°F/Gas mark 3. Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper and a sprinkle of flour.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place cubed butter into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 10-15 seconds to soften (not melt). Once soft and warmed through, mix with a spatula until creamy and velvety. If you prefer, you can allow the butter to soften by leaving out until it reaches room temperature.
  4. Add soft butter, eggs, sugar and the zests to the dry ingredients and whisk on medium speed (or by hand) until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add in lemon juice or milk one tablespoon at a time until the consistency is thick but still spreadable. This will be thicker than the usual sponge batter.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and spread to level of the top.
  7. Place on a low shelf in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until the cake is golden brown, springy or if a toothpick inserted comes out clean. There should be a traditional large crack on the top of the cake – this is classic of a true madeira cake.
  8. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes in the tin before turning out to cool on a wire rack.

  • Serve with a drizzle of honey and raspberries. Or stay classic with creamy custard. You could even serve with a warm berry compote!

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