Madeira Cake With Blood Oranges

Blood Orange Madeira Cake

Here is a  simple  but  utterly satisfying   cake  recipe – Orange  Madeira Cake.    Butter, eggs , flour and leavening – all the  basic  building  blocks  of a  cake-   and a hint  of  citrus , that is  all it  takes.  I can  have  this  any time with with a cup of  tea.

Brown paper bags  filled with  fruits  are  like  puppy dogs,  difficult to ignore  both, at  least  for  me.  So you can  guess  what  happened  when I found a  bag of  blood  oranges .  I bring one  home  and  make   plans.  What  was  that  saying  about  well laid plan ?  Suffice  to say that  the bag got emptied real  fast   and   the  last  3  ended  up in this  lovely Orange  Madeira Cake .

For a  long  time  I thought  that  this cake  was of Portuguese origin,  as in  cake  from  Madeira.  Boy  was I mistaken,  the name  came  from Madeira  wine,  as  in the  cake  that  goes  with  the  wine.   Who am I to mess with tradition –  off to  the store I go to get  my wine.

Blood Orange Madeira Cake

This is a  baker’s  cake  and a decorator’s.  The  texture  stands  up to  carving,   stacking  and   all the  abuse  that  a  decorator  subjects  it to.  But personally I believe  that all that  chiseling  and sugar coating is a distraction.  Serve  it  as  it  is – with the  cracks  and  brown  tops  and  all. The  only exception I make  is  the  citrus  itself.  A  few  slices  of the  citrus  is  the perfect  complement  to  the cake.

The  recipe  is  similar to a  pound  cake, but   has more  flour.  One  other  thing  you will notice  is  that   each addition of  egg  to the batter   includes a  little  flour.  This  goes  against  typical cake  making  wisdom – but  seems  to  work  in this  recipe.

Blood Orange Madeira CakeAbout  the crack –  well if  you  had  watched  the Great British Bake Off ,  a  big  deal was  made  about   the  crack on the  top. Well I  am not  really a  fan of  it so there is not  large  crack on  the top here.  But  if  you strongly feel it  should  ahve a  crack  use a  smaller  pan or a  loaf  pan (9X5 laof  pan) .  There are   a  couple  other  ways  to  make  the  tops  crack –

  • increase the oven temperature to 350°F.
  • Increase the baking  powder  to 3 tsp.

As for me, I  am happy  with the  barely cracked  top:-)

Blood Orange Madeira Cake Steps

Do you see  what I mean by the  thick batter ?  Any thicker   it  will be  cookie  dough.

Orange Madeira Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Orange Madeira Cake

A delightful old fashioned cake with orange flavors. Tastes heavenly with cup of tea in the afternoon .


For the cake
AP Flour - 200g (1 3/4 C )
Fine Sugar - 150g (3/4 C)
Unsalted butter - 150g (2/3 C)
Eggs - 3 Large
Baking Powder - 2 Tsp
Salt - 1/4 Tsp
Orange - 1
To decorate
Sugar - 75g (5 Tbsp)
Water - 100 g (1/2 C minus 1 Tbsp)
Oranges - 1 to 2


Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease a circular 8 inch spring form pan with butter and line with parchment paper.

Sift the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder and fine salt- together. Zest the orange, squeeze the juices and reserve.

Take a mixing bowl and cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add 1 tbsp flour with each egg and beat well. Fold in the zest.

Fold in the dry Mix in 2 to 3 batches. If the batter feels too thick to fold in more flour add one to two tbsp of the juice. The cake batter is thicker than usual, but thinner than dough. It should fall off the spoon slowly when scooped and allowed to drop back .

Pour the batter in to the pan. Spread using the spatula.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top has browned evenly and begin to crack. Check by inserting a tooth pick (cake tester) in the middle. It should come out clean when the cake is cooked through. Remove from the oven and place the pan over a cooling rack.

To Decorate

Cook the sugar and water in a sauce pan along with the 2 tbsp of the remaining orange juice. Peel and slice the blood orange into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Add strips of rind to the syrup for more flavor. Let the syrup boil for 2 minutes. Add the sliced oranges to the syrup. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes and remove the slices from the syrup before they lose their shape. Reserve the slices for later. If needed cook the syrup for an additional minute or 2 to thicken. Keep the syrup warm.

Brush the syrup over the warm cake. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the pan.

Slice and serve with slices of reserved oranges.

Store in an airtight container for 2 days at room temperature or refrigerated up to a week. Freeze for longer storage.


US cup measurements are used. The metric (by weight) measurements are more accurate than volume measurements.

Blood Orange Madeira Cake
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2 thoughts on “Madeira Cake With Blood Oranges

    1. The eggs provide the classic structure of this cake, substitutions will change the texture slightly. If you must here is one to substitution to try – 100 gm yogurt and 1/4 C milk – both could be skim but not fat free. I would
      also suggest adding 1/2 tsp Baking soda as well. Since there is a lot of diary in this recipe make sure that you are adding plenty of zest and to highlight the citrus flavors.
      Happy baking !

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