This is the 3rd of 4 pound cakes which I baked during my baking frenzy the last weekend, the first 2 being Condensed Milk Pound Cakes. I think I don't have to introduce who Nigella is. She is my idol. I was glued to the TV for 1 whole month watching her cooking up a storm in Food Network, while I was just recovering from childbirth in February this year. The Food Network channel would show her cooking program almost every other hour on TV. Needless to say, I have a lot of her recipes bookmarked in my to-do-list.
This recipe is uncannily similar to the lemon butter cake which I bake quite frequently. This Madeira Cake apparently originated from Madeira, a Portuguese archipelago which is a very popular year-round tourist resort. The difference between my previous lemon butter cake and this Madeira Cake is that, the former has a lemon sugar syrup drizzled on top, whereas the latter has a sprinkling of sugar on top. I like this Madeira Cake, as it is less troublesome and less work for me since there is one less lemon to grate and one less pot to wash after boiling the lemon sugar syrup. Although tastewise, the lemon butter cake is slightly more moist and flavourful due to the syrup. :)
This is a rather big loaf cake, unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the cake before it was sliced. Otherwise you can see the nice sugar crusting formed on top of the cake. This cake can easily be cut into 25 pieces, as you can see from my photo. :)
Recipe adapted from the beautiful and talented Nigella Lawson
240g unsalted butter
200g castor sugar + 2 tbsp for sprinkling
zest + juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
3 large eggs
210g self-raising flour, sifted
90g plain flour, sifted
(Note: If you prefer using 300g of plain flour instead of a mixture of SR and plain flour, remember to add baking powder, about 3/4 to 1 tsp should be enough.)
1. Sift the SR flour and plain flour together. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
2. Using a cake-mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the grated lemon zest/rind and mix well.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, together with 1 tbsp of flour each. (No additional flour is required, the flour should be taken from the 300g flour mixture.)
4. Using a spatula, gently mix in the rest of the sifted flour in 3 additions, and finally add the lemon juice. (I found the batter too thick, so after 2/3 of the flour were added, I added 1/2 of the lemon juice, then followed by the last 1/3 of the flour, and finally the remaining 1/2 of the lemon juice.)
5. Pour the batter into a greased large loaf pan. Using a spatula, gently spread and level the cake batter, then sprinkle 2 tbsp of castor sugar on top of the batter. Bake for 1 hour at 170C until a toothpick comes out clean. (I baked for about 1 hour + 10 min).