Lemon Iced Madeira Cake

This is a lovely tangy cake with a close texture that’s both firm, yet soft. It slices easily and is ideal for afternoon tea.

Serves: 10 or maybe 12

Time: 30 minutes to prepare; 60 – 75 to bake + cooling time

Difficulty: Easy peasy

Credit: I saw this in a Parragon book simply called “Bake”. I’ve only made a few minor changes and added some help notes.


  • 175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened + more if you need to grease a tin (*see note below)
  • 175g/6oz caster sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 140g/5oz self-raising flour
  • 120g/4oz plain flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 or 2 tbsp lemon juice (depending on taste)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract (optional – again, according to taste)
  • For the icing
  • 175g/6oz icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon curd, slightly warmed


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C/Fan 140C/325F/Gas 3.
  2. Use a 900g/2 lb loaf tin. Either grease it and line with baking paper or pop in one of the pre-shaped loaf tin liners. (*I recommend the latter; they’re so easy and there’s no need to grease the tin. Also, if you want to give the cake away or transport it, it’s half wrapped already. Picture below. O.K. back to the plot….)
  3. Weigh out and sift together the flours in a separate bowl.
  4. Put the butter and caster sugar into a large bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy. Whisk in the lemon zest, then gradually whisk in the eggs, adding a tsp of flour with each addition. (that’s why you pre-weighed the flour earlier.)
  5. Now add all the rest of the flour, gently so as not to deflate the wet mixture. Fold in with a large metal spoon until fully incorporated. Finally, add and fold in the milk, lemon juice and lemon extract (if using).
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 60 – 75 minutes, until well risen, golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. (Check after 60 minutes in case it’s getting too dark, in which case cover it with foil.)
  7. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
  8. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir well to make a smooth, thick icing. Gently spread over the top of the cake. Leave for about 15 minutes for it to begin to set then drizzle “blobs” of the warmed lemon curd over the icing and drag a skewer or cocktail stick through it to create swirls. (* see tips, below)
  9. * Don’t heat the curd too hot otherwise it will melt the icing and create a hole. Also, if the icing is running over the edges, either wait, or put your blobs of curd in the middle to avoid losing them.