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Madeira Loaf Cake

Although there is no Madeira wine in this cake (worse luck!), it is wonderful, light, and deliciously worth making. With a hint of citrus from grated lemon zest and a rich nuttiness from ground almonds, the flavor is subtle yet complex. Ever so versatile, the loaf can be sliced and served for tea, toasted and spread with marmalade or jam for breakfast, or used as a base for a dessert of fresh fruit and cream.

Madeira Loaf Cake

6 oz. butter, softened (12 tbs.)
5¼ oz. golden caster sugar (scant ¾ cup)
3 eggs
grated zest of 1 lemon
few drops of vanilla extract
7 oz. self-raising flour (scant 1¾ cups)
1¾ oz. ground almonds (½ cup)

Heat the oven to 325°F and grease a standard loaf pan*.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract followed by the flour and almonds. The batter will be thick, but loose enough to fall off a wooden spoon. If it is too thick, add a splash of milk.

Tip the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack. Store airtight.

*The cake can be baked in an 8″ round pan, you just need to adjust the cooking time to 40-45 minutes.

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