I have seen recipes for iced citrus Madeira cake on many different web sites over the last year or so. Perhaps this is because it appeared on one of the series of the Great British Bake Off. This particular cake is adapted from a recipe from the BBC food website. I made some changes to it, I reduced the amount of zest that went into the batter and I added orange and lemon juice to the syrup that is poured on the cake prior to icing. This gave the cake a good citrus flavour and also made the cake moister.
Madeira cake is a close textured English cake similar to pound cake. It is traditionally unflavoured or flavoured lightly with lemon and is left unglazed. Originally the cake was served with Madeira wine, a fortified wine, which gave it its name (not because it originated from Madeira, as I had assumed). It is now more commonly eaten with a cup of tea or sometimes with liqueurs. Lots of different flavours of Madeira cake are made, but I love this fresh zesty recipe. I also like the addition of icing, although I know this is far from traditional. However, in my opinion the icing turns a slightly plain cake into something a little more special. The candied peel on top of this cake looks nice but next time I would chop it a little finer as this was a bit too much peel for my liking 😀
A lot is also written about the need for a crack on the top of a Madeira cake before it can be legitimately be called Madeira cake. I don’t know how true this is but this one certainly had the crack – a great big one running down the middle of the cake. It seemed like a shame to cover it up with icing and candied peel, but without it it felt just a little on the plain side!
This cake can be frozen easily for up to a month. Do not drizzle the cake with the syrup before freezing. Wait for it to cool completely, wrap it in parchment paper, then cling film and place it in a secured freezer bag before freezing.
I hope that you enjoy this traditional English cake 😀