Cherry madeira cake is simple to make and the most difficult bit is waiting for it to cook in the oven!
This cake is made with store cupboard ingredients, so it makes the perfect teatime treat or just a naughty, sneaky slice at any time.
And, if you are worried about the cherries sinking in the cake, don't be. I've got a whole list of simple hacks to make sure that this cherry cake is perfectly studded with cherries.
What is it called a madeira cake?
Why is cake so confusing? A coffee cake can be flavoured with coffee, or just a cake to be eaten with coffee, and a tea cake is just eaten with a cup of tea. Then there is a fruit loaf, also known as a tea loaf, where often the dried fruit is soaked in tea before it is cooked.
Well, there is no Madeira wine in Madeira cake! This simple cake has been a British favourite since the 1800s, when it became fashionable to serve this wine with a serving of cake.
If you haven't tried it before, Madeira wine is fortified and tastes like a rich cream sherry or even a tawny port. It's sweet, mellow and delicious!
While it is often just a plain cake, I've added cherries for a moist cake that doesn't feel as heavy as a fruit cake.
Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee!
All you will need for this cake are simple ingredients that you will likely already have in the kitchen.
- Butter - room temperature to make it easier to mix.
- Sugar - golden caster or caster sugar. In the US this is superfine sugar.
- Eggs - I prefer to use large free range eggs for baking.
- Vanilla extract - please use extract as vanilla essence is not the same!
- Flour - self raising flour. Make your own self raising flour below.
- Ground almonds - for extra flavour and to help keep the cake moist.
- Glacé cherries - also known as candied cherries in the US.
- Baking powder - for extra help with raising the batter.
See recipe card for quantities.
💭 How to make self raising flour
If you want to make your own self raising flour then you can use plain or all purpose flour and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder for each 150g/6oz/1 cup plain flour. For this recipe you would need 4 teaspoons but make sure that the total weight for the flour and almonds includes this.
- Stand or hand electric mixer - optional
- Large bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Colander or sieve
- 900g or 2lb loaf tin - 24 X 12 cm or 9.5 X 4.5 inches
- Pastry brush - or baking parchment to grease the tin
- Baking parchment or loaf tin paper liner
Start by lining the loaf tin with baking parchment.
It's easier to do this by putting the tin on the paper and making sure that there is enough to cover the bottom and long sides.
Next, make two cuts each end where the corners are. Fold the flaps inwards and fold along the lengths. Now check that the paper fits.
Use a pastry brush to grease the tin with butter and then push the paper into place.
Wash and cut the cherries in half as described below.
💭 Top tips to stop the cherries sinking in a cake
- Cut the cherries into halves or even quarters to reduce their weight in the cake batter.
- Wash the cherries in a sieve to get rid of the sticky coating.
- Dry the cherries on kitchen paper and dust with a tablespoon of the flour from the recipe.
- Push the cherries into the cake batter just before baking.
In a food mixer or large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until very soft and fluffy.
Beat the eggs individually and add them one by one to the cake batter, mixing well after each addition.
Use a tablespoon of the flour to mix with the cherries and add the rest of the flour, baking powder and the ground almonds to the batter.
Fold in the flour mixture with a metal spoon.
Put half of the batter in the bottom of the tin and spread into a layer.
Push half of the cherries in and repeat.
⏲️ Baking time
Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/160 FAN/Gas Mark 4.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Don't open the oven door for the first 45 minutes or the cake may not rise well.
Leave it to cook for 5 minutes in the tin and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Wait until the cherry Madeira cake is completely cool before slicing.
🥗 Serve with
This cake is perfect with afternoon tea for a special occasion.
Try it with:
- Cheese and Bacon Scones
- Classic Scones
- Afternoon Tea Sandwiches
- Lincolnshire Plum Bread
- Salted Caramel Mille Feuille
- Ground almonds - if you don't want to use ground almonds replace with the same quantity of self raising flour.
- Butter - use baking fat if you prefer but the flavour will not be as good.
- Citrus - add the grated zest of an orange, lime or lemon to the batter
- Fruit - use blueberries instead of the cherries, although they will burst it will still taste delicious.
- Hot - if you need a quick dessert serve slices with hot custard.
This cherry pound cake will keep up to a week in a tin or other airtight container.
To freeze it, cut in slices and wrap individually. Freeze for up to 3 months.
A Victoria sponge follows a set formula where the weight of the sugar, butter and flour is the same, making the sponge very light and fluffy. So, for example, a large round cake with two layers would need 8oz (225g), of self raising flour, butter and caster sugar and 4 eggs.
A Madeira cake often uses the same amount of flour and sugar but a much higher amount of flour. The cake is more dense but more suitable for slicing as a loaf cake or pound cake.
Cherry Madeira Cake
- Electric mixer - optional
- Large bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Colander or sieve
- Pastry brush
- Baking parchment or loaf tin liner
- 900g or 2lb loaf tin - 24X 12 cm or 9.5 X 4.5 inches
- 175 g butter soft
- 175 g caster sugar golden or white
- 3 eggs large
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 g flour self raising
- 50 g ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 200 g glace cherries candied
- 1 teaspoon butter for the tin
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/160 FAN/Gas Mark 4.
- Grease the tin with the teaspoon of butter and line with baking parchment.
- Wash the cherries, cut into halves and dry on kitchen paper.
- In a food mixer or large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until very soft and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Beat the eggs individually and add them one by one to the cake batter, mixing well after each addition.
- Use a tablespoon of the flour to mix with the cherries and add the rest of the flour, baking powder and the ground almonds to the batter.
- Fold in the flour mixture with a metal spoon.
- Put half of the batter in the bottom of the tin and spread into a layer.
- Push half of the cherries in and repeat.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave it to cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Wait until the cake is completely cool before slicing.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended'
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I love to read them and answer your questions. However, due to spam comments, I do have to moderate each one, so don't worry if you cannot see your comment immediately. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can.
looks so good - i love anything with cherries so this was a must-make and its very easy and turned out great!
I love cherry anything what a great cake here cant wait to get everything to make it!
Hi there..tk u for your recipe.
May I point out a spelling error in point 11...cook. Should be cool.
Tks again..Viola..South Africa
Hi Viola. Thanks so much for pointing this out. I have amended to save the confusion! Thanks again, Amanda
Love how easy and delicious this is! It really is perfect with tea. Thanks for sharing!
I love cherries! This was simple to make and full of flavor. Perfect with my morning coffee. Thank you!
I had never heard of this before, but now I totally want to make this asap. Looks amazing! 🙂
I made the cake this afternoon. And did everything that was said in the instructions. Was really looking forward to eating it which we did this evening. Blow me down if all the cherries had sunk to the bottom didn't think that was supposed to happen. At least the cake tasted really nice. But I shall be trying it again.
Hi Angie, That is so frustrating. It's difficult to pin point what went wrong. It may be an idea to cut the cherries into quarters and put an oven tray in the oven to preheat and put the loaf tin on the hot tray. Just a thought. Thanks,
I’m a novice baker and gave this recipe a go!
It was a success and tasted delicious.
Love the cherry flavour and the texture the ground almonds give.
Thanks for sharing 😊
So, just leave the vanilla extract on the side?
Also, parchment zand grease? How sticky is this cake?
Hi, Apologies, the vanilla extract needs to be beaten into the creamed butter and sugar. I have updated the recipe card. If you have great non stick loaf tins you can get away with just parchment. Unfortunately, mine are old! Thanks, Amanda.