A good classic sponge cake is hard to beat. This simple recipe bakes a soft and light Madeira cake which will last for 7-10 days after baking. It therefore makes for a perfect wedding cake flavour as there will be plenty of time for decorating. It can also be adapted easily (see Notes at the bottom of the recipe).
- 200g caster sugar
- 250g softened butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300g plain flour
- 2-3 tbsps milk (semi-skimmed or full fat)
- 4 tsps baking powder
- In a large bowl or food mixer, cream together sugar and butter.
- Beat eggs and add vanilla extract. Add egg mixture in small quantities, alternately with sifted flour. Mix well on each addition.
- Add 2-3 tbsps of milk to soften the batter
- Add sifted baking powder and fold in lightly with a large spoon
- Spoon into 2 x greased and bottom-lined 20cm (8" round) tins and smooth the top
- Bake at Gas Mark 3/electric oven 160oC/fan oven 140oC for 45 minutes.
- Check cake with skewer to ensure cooked through - skewer should come out clean
- Allow to cool completely in tin.
- Sandwich layers together with generous dollop of strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream
To make an almond madeira, swap vanilla for 1 tsp almond extract.
For a lovely lemon drizzle, omit vanilla extract and add zest of 1 lemon to flour. Mix juice of 1 lemon with 2-3 tbsps sifted icing sugar to form a paste. Pour over cake as it comes out of the oven.
I prefer to use plain flour and add baking powder (I feel it gives a lighter texture) but you could use 300g self-raising flour instead and add 1tsp baking powder if using a food mixer. I also like to bake in two halves as I think it allows for a better rise.