Semi-dense plain sponge cake with a small admixture of lemon, usually formed as a slab.
Known since newspaper advertisments of the 1840's and from Acton's receipt of 1845. The name may derive from the drink taken with it - either Madeira Wine or Madeira Tea.
Original Receipt from 'Modern Cookery for Private Families' by Eliza Acton (Acton 1845);
A GOOD MADEIRA CAKE.
Whisk four fresh eggs until they are as light as possible, then, continuing still to whisk them, throw in by slow degrees the following ingredients in the order in which they are written: six ounces of dry, pounded, and sifted sugar; six of flour, also dried and sifted; four ounces of butter just dissolved, but not heated; the rind of a fresh lemon; and the instant before the cake is moulded, beat well in the third of a teaspoonful of carbonate of soda: bake it an hour in a moderate oven. In this, as in all compositions of the same nature, observe particularly that each portion of butter must be beaten into the mixture until no appearance of it remains before the next is added; and if this be done, and the preparation be kept light by constant and light whisking, the cake will be as good, if not better, than if the butter were creamed. Candied citron can be added to the paste, but it is not needed.
Original Receipt from 'The Bread And Biscuit Baker's And Sugar-Boiler's Assistant' by Robert Wells, 1890 (Wells 1890)
152. - Madeira Cakes.
1 3/4 lb. of butter, 2 lbs. of sugar, 2 lbs. of flour, 1 lb. of patent flour, 24 eggs. Proceed as before directed. This mixing makes eight cakes, selling at a shilling each. Put two thin slices of citron on each. Bake in a cool oven. Note. - Patent flour is made with 8 lbs. of flour, 4 ozs. cream of tartar, 2 ozs. carbonate of soda, and sifted three times.
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