Soft and moist, this simple orange madeira cake is delicious with a cup of tea and ideal for everyday baking or any occasion. Made with orange zest and a fresh orange juice glaze, it has a firm texture similar to a pound cake.
A classic English cake, orange madeira cake can also be made with lemon, similar to my lemon pound cake. It’s similar to a sponge cake yet easier to make and may remind you of a pound cake!
The refreshing orange taste in this traditional British cake makes it great year round. Enjoy it at breakfast with a glass of English breakfast tea or serve it with a glass of Madeira wine for dessert.
Eat it plain or add the orange glaze for an even more citrusy treat! This simple cake is easy to make in a few steps, read on to learn the best tips to make your madeira cake recipe at home.
Table of Contents
What is Madeira Cake?
Despite the name this cake did not originate from Madeira, Portugal and is not made with Madeira wine. This spongy type of cake got its name because it was often served to English aristocrats with a glass of Madeira wine!
The texture of this cake is more dense than the sponge cake in my sticky toffee pudding cake which is lighter and fluffier. It actually may remind you of the firm moist texture in my marble pound cake. This is a cake that everyone will love because it is so delicious!
- Unsalted butter: Your butter will need to be softened to room temperature for best results when creaming together with the sugar.
- Granulated sugar: You will need this for both the cake and to coat the loaf pan.
- Cake flour: Or pastry flour. Both of these flours are lower in protein and will make your cake airy and lighter in texture.
- Orange zest: The zest of one orange will make this an orange madeira cake.
- Baking powder: Gives your cake rise.
- Eggs: Three large eggs provide moisture and structure.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract adds flavor.
- Orange glaze: Powdered sugar and the juice of half an orange.
- Lemon: Instead of orange zest use lemon zest for another version of this British cake.
- 8 inch round baking pan: Madeira cake can also be baked in an 8 inch round baking pan. Baking time may change.
- Trifle: If your cake has gone stale or perhaps did not release from the pan properly, repurpose it into a trifle!
- Extract: Instead of vanilla extract try lemon extract or orange extract for deeper taste.
- Candied citrus peel: Top your cake with candied orange peel instead of a glaze.
How to Make Orange Madeira Cake
Whisk dry ingredients: In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, orange zest and baking powder to remove any lumps . Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar: In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, with one spoonful of the flour mix. Beat well between each addition. Add remaining flour mix and mix just until combined.
Bake: Pour the batter into the prepared 8 inch loaf pan coated with sugar and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the top of the cake comes out clean.
Cool and glaze: Let your cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and transfer it to a cooling rack to cool completely. Combine icing ingredients and pour on the cake when cooled and before slicing. Enjoy!
Tips for Making This Cake Recipe
- Always bring your oven to the correct temperature first before baking your cake. Check the temperature to ensure accuracy with an oven thermometer for best results.
- Line your loaf pan with parchment paper. This makes it easier to remove the orange madeira cake from the pan. Don’t forget to coat the loaf pan with sugar!
- Don’t be tempted to check on your cake for at least 20 minutes after you put it in the oven. Opening the oven door may cause the cake to sink in the middle. Near the end of the baking time, opening the door is fine to check for doneness.
- Be careful to not overmix the batter or you will end up with a dense cake.
- Place your baking pan in the middle of the oven for best heat distribution.
Is Madeira cake the same as Victoria sponge cake?
No, it is not the same although there are some similarities between the two cakes. Although madeira cake is a type of sponge cake and uses the same creaming method as both a sponge cake and pound cake, it contains more flour and has a firmer texture.
Is this cake similar to pound cake?
Yes, although true pound cake ingredients are measured in pounds. It’s worth noting that pound cake, Madeira cake and loaf cake may be names used interchangeably for the same type of cake. No matter what this cake is a staple in home baking!
Why did my cake crack?
Did your Madeira cake crack? That’s totally fine and actually a traditional trait of the cake. Since we coated the cake with sugar before baking it will get a bit of crunch!
How long will a Madeira cake stay fresh?
It may stay fresh for up to two weeks when stored properly. You can also freeze it up to three months.
How to Store
Cool completely then store at room temperature for a few days in an airtight container so your cake stays nice and moist. You can also store it in the refrigerator tightly wrapped for longer storage.
You can also freeze your cake. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container or freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.
More Easy Recipes to Try
- Chocolate chip banana bundt cake
- Carrot bread
- Coconut bread
- Lemon layer cake recipe
- Homemade cherry cake
Simple Orange Madeira Cake
- ½ cup Unsalted butter – softened
- ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup Cake/pastry flour
- 1 zest orange
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 3 large Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
For the Orange Glaze
- 1 cup Powdered sugar
- Juice of half an orange
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C). Grease and 8 inch loaf pan and lightly coat with sugar removing the excess.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, orange zest and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, with one spoonful of flour mix. Beat well between each addition. Add remaining flour mix and mix just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the top of the cake comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer it on the cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Orange Glaze
- In a small bowl mix together the powdered sugar and orange juice. Add more or less powdered sugar until you get your desired consistency. Pour on the cake when completely cooled and before slicing. Serve and Enjoy!