Recipe: Madeira Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream.

madeira42

Up until last week, I had no idea what a Madeira Cake even was. I was going through some old magazines, and happened to stumble across the recipe for it in an issue of Cake Craft and Decoration from February of 2012. If you are unfamiliar with this magazine, it’s based out of the UK, and as such the recipes are geared more towards someone doing their baking there. However, this recipe sounded pretty good, and after reading about what a Madeira Cake actually was (a dense sponge cake – close to a pound cake in consistency, usually eaten with tea or sometimes for breakfast), I decided this would be my next project. Truth be told, I think what really excited me was the fact that it called for caster sugar, and I had specifically purchased a bag when I was last in the UK just so I could experiment with it, and finally here was my big chance.

the travelling bag of sugar.

the travelling bag of sugar.

The recipe also called for either margarine or butter, stating that butter gives a better flavor but margarine gives more rise, so a combination of the two would be best.. Because I harbor a vehement hatred for margarine, I had none in the house. I did, however have shortening, so I decided I’d try a butter/shortening combo instead. The recipe also stated that the classic Madeira cake has two to three thin slices of citron peel on top. I really just didn’t want to decorate it that way, so I opted for sifted confectioners sugar.

sifted sugar coat.

sifted sugar coat.

Additionally, I whipped up a batch of lemon whipped cream, and served each slice with a generous dollop on top.

dessert is served.

breakfast dessert is served.

Keeping with the tradition, I just had a slice for breakfast, although I drink coffee, not tea. But either way, cake for breakfast is never a bad thing. Don’t knock it until you try it, my friends. 🙂

Just one last quick note before I get into the recipe – this cake DOES NOT bake at 350. DON”T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. It bakes much lower, for much longer. Don’t rush it. It will be worth it, I promise. Good things are always worth the wait.

Madeira Cake (adopted from Cake Craft Magazine).

What you’ll need:

8 oz caster sugar

4 oz butter

4 oz shortening

4 eggs

12 oz flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, butter, and shortening until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Mix in the dry ingredients, one third at a time. Do not over mix – once everything is combined, stop mixing, and pour the entire thing into a well-greased 8″ pan. Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes.

Once cooled, sift confectioners sugar on top. Serve as is, or with the topping of your choice -. lemon whipped cream works really well.

 

Heaven is a Place on Earth called Framlingham.

Framlingham, aka “A friendly place to linger,” is a small town in Suffolk, England, which I stumbled across serendipitously. I was doing some last-minute research for my upcoming trip to England and France – up to this point, I had neglected to do any research on anything in England and been focusing only on Paris and the pastry shop tour I was planning out (and of which I’ll be posting about in full detail in the very near future so stayed tuned!). I realized the day before I was originally supposed to leave (but did not – you can read all about that series of unfortunate events here)  that I hadn’t come up with anything to do in England. I was visiting my brother for that portion of the trip (I’m actually sitting in his living room in Bury St. Edmunds typing this!) so I really was just looking forward to spending time with him, no matter what we wound up doing. However, he was not able to take off work for the entire duration of my trip, so I was going to have some time to myself, which is not a problem for me – particularly in an unfamiliar place, as I love exploring the unknown. I decided I’d venture out on my own. Enter Framlingham.

A friendly place to linger.

I wanted to see castles. I wanted to photograph them with my new camera. So I started googling “castles in suffolk” and seeing what was near my brother’s crib, that I could easily take a train to. Framlingham was not only the closest, but also appeared to be the coolest. It was on.

the castle of my dreams.

I wound up not having to go alone – because I lost a day on my trip, things got shuffled around, and my brother decided the castle sounded pretty cool too, and he’d join me on my journey. So we went exploring together, which made it all the more worthwhile. The town itself was quaint, warm, and welcoming – my kinda place. As we strolled up the path to castle, we also passed an old church, which was incredibly beautiful and monumental in itself – The Church of St. Michael, it had been dubbed.

A friendly place to worship.

The Church was surrounded by old gravestones – so old, that we couldn’t make out what was written on any of them – except one. And although they were old, they were not the least bit creepy. Go figure.

A friendly place to rest in peace.

We continued on up to the castle, and as we crossed the field toward the castle entrance, reaching the top of the hill on which the castle was perched, I could not believe my eyes – I had never in my life seen anything more beautiful. Framlingham was more than just a friendly place to linger – it was stunning.

dreamland.

Now I don’t know if it was the weather, or that I was with my brother, but I as I looked out over the landscape surrounding the castle, I felt as if I were dreaming up this place, one frame after another. We wandered around the entire castle, soaking it all in, chatting, laughing, listening to many owls hooting, and taking as many pictures as I possibly could – I didn’t want to ever forget any of these moments.

one moment in time.

Of course, we had to leave eventually. But we left content – knowing we’d just experienced something truly monumental – both literally and figuratively.

Everyone has a place that changes them – one they feel connected to. Mine just so happens to be Framlingham. I’ll be back.