My colleague Manpreet's birthday was last week and she had been making I want cake noises a few days earlier, so I made her one.
It is my tweaked version of Nigella Lawson's delicious Madeira cake that features in her book How To Be A Domestic Goddess: Baking And The Art of Comfort Cooking, which is one of my favourite, never-fail baking books. This version is more lemony and vanilla-y, but I will include the original recipe as it is below, and then point out which bits I have added, as the basic recipe is amazing too.
240 unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
200g caster sugar
210 self raising flour
90 plain flour
zest and juice of one lemon
Use the zest of TWO lemons and the juice of one - the juice of the other lemon will make a glaze
Add vanilla essence - to your taste; in my mind things can never be too vanilla-y, it's just one of those things!
Some icing sugar, sifted, for the finish - we'll come to that shortly.
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees (GM3).
In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar and then add the beaten eggs, one at a time, with a spoonful of the flour. Turn off the beater and go to spatula. Add in the vanilla essence, lemon zest and the flour, carefully folding it in. This is not a light and airy cake so don't panic, but don't whip it either. Finally stir in the juice of one lemon.
Put it into the loaf tin (I use a silicone mould) and into the oven for about 50 minutes-1 hour. I always check at 50 as my oven runs a bit hot. Just do the skewer test - if it comes out clean you're good.
A few minutes before you're ready to take it out completely - say at about 47 minutes or something (you know your oven), whip it out and make a few little holes in the top, and then glaze it before popping it back in to finish.
The glaze is dead easy - just add enough icing sugar to the juice of the remaining lemon to make a very thin runny icing, and pour it over the top, aiming for the holes! Don't worry if there's any left over, you can pour it over the cake as it cools to make a delicious sticky crusty glaze.
We ate it with blueberries and a cup of tea.