[VIDEO] The Secret Behind Soft and Fluffy Orange Madeira Cake

Not all cakes are created equal. Some are fancy and complicated to make, and some are easy and a no brainer at all, just like this Orange Madeira Cake. I used to be scared in making cakes, I guess that could be attributed to the first cake that I baked that did not turned out as expected. I was pretty ambitious and excited when I was starting my baking adventure and I dived in immediately in making Black Forrest Cake for my first cake. Not a good idea at all, that was a lesson learned to me.

Orange Madeira Cake

When learning new things, I always find it good to start with the basic or with something simple. Simple doesn’t mean boring, sometimes the most simplest thing could turn out to be the best one. So don’t under estimate the power of simplicity especially when it comes to baking. This is one thing I love about this recipe, it’s so simple and easy, but it is not boring at all. I would even recommend this cake as a starter cake for someone who’s learning how to bake. 

Small Batch Orange Madeira Cake Recipe

I’ve made Madeira Cake before and I noticed that the common problem is that the cake has a tendency to be dry because the recipe normally calls for more flour and a lot of butter. The texture is close to a pound cake, but not as creamy as pound cake. Because of its very stable cake crumb, Madeira Cakes are often used for cakes that requires heavy frosting and decorating. Think about cakes decorated with fondant frosting. I always prefer lighter cakes on most cases, but sometimes I also like traditional dense and heavy Madeira Cake. But this time around, I was feeling more like Madeira Cake but a slightly light crumb version, so that is what we are making today.

How to Make Madeira Cake

This cake is soft and moist, with a lighter crumb. Nothing too dense and heavy but still stable enough to handle any frosting. To keep it simple (but still delicious), we are just going to make orange glaze to top the cake. This glaze is so simple and it adds a LOT of freshness and citrus flavor to the cake. It is even better as the days go by as the cake soak with the orange glaze. This is the type of cake that leftover is welcome, it gets better as it age. Sounds like a wine.

How to Make Madeira Cake By SweetNSpicyLiving

What is Madeira Cake?

Madeira Cake is British/Irish butter cake, or sponge cake. In English cookery, it is similar to a pound cake, sometimes also compared to a yellow cake. It it quite dense and stable are is a good base for decorated and frosted cake. It is usually serve plain with tea or coffee.

Orange Madeira Cake By SweetNSpicyLiving

Did You Know That Madeira Cake

  • was named after the Madeira wine and not the Madeira Island. 
  • Is a British/Irish Cake
  • Is the equivalent of pound/butter cake, or yellow cake or sponge cake in English baking 
  • Is traditionally flavored with lemon zest 
  • Is often served with tea, but of course you can serve it however you want to
Madeira Cake
Icing sugar glaze only, No Orange zest added

The Secret Behind Soft and Fluffy Orange Madeira Cake

Let me share with you my lighter version of Madeira Cake. There are 2 things that I consider simple tweaks that turned this Madeira Cake to a lighter version. I will go straight to the point and will keep this simple

  1. A combination of butter and oil. Butter for creamy delicous cake, and oil for soft, moist cake texture.
  2. A combination of cake flour and all-purpose flour. Cake flour have low gluten content and produces a lighter crumb cake, and all-purpose flour to keep the texture not as sponge or chiffon like.

A very simple tweaks, but it works, it really works. I wish I could have you taste this right now. Don’t just take my word for it, make it, give it a try and let me know what you think.

The cake turned out lighter but not dry  and the flavor of the butter still stands out. The intense orange flavor gave this Madeira a different twist, and the light orange glaze on top definitely sealed the deal for me. I used a very light glaze coating as I do not like it to be too sweet, but if you prefer the thick solid white glaze, feel free to add more sugar. I have to warn you though, it could  get really sweet, unless that is how you like your cake. Now, before we start, let me point out some things that we should remember in making this cake. This little tips could make or break your cake, so there’s no harm on taking few more minutes to read it.

Orange Madeira Cake Recipe

Tips to a Successful Soft and Fluffy Madeira Cake:

  • Room temperature ingredients: Since the process requires creaming butter, sugar and eggs, it is very important that the ingredients is in room temperature so that it creams easily. This will result into a lighter, fluffier mixture which is essential to achieve a lighter cake. If you don’t have time to wait for the eggs to be at room temperature (normally 30 min outside the refrigerator), you can submerge it in hot water (not boiling water) for 5 minutes, that should do the job. I have some basic information about Eggs in Baking, check it out!
  • Blend of butter and Oil: Most Madeira recipes calls for all butter, I believe that is the classic version of it, more like a pound cake. In this recipe, I made it a blend of butter and oil to satisfy both the taste and moist texture. Creamy buttery taste from butter, and soft and moist texture from oil.
  • Do not over mix: This goes without saying with regards to most (if not all) cakes, muffins, loaf bread and sometimes cookies. The longer the batter is mix, the tougher and dense the end product will be. So stop as soon as all ingredients are mix through.
  • Alternate addition of flour and liquid: Do not dump the wet ingredients all at once as this could get the mixing longer which could result to tougher cake. Do it alternate as mentioned in steps below.


  • 6 tablespoon unsalted Butter, at room temperature (about 1 hr in room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Eggs, beaten – room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cake Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoon flavorless Oil
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon milk
  • Zest of 2 large Orange


  • 1/2 cup Icing Sugar
  • 4 teaspoon Orange Juice or Milk
  • zest of 2 large Orange

Note: This glaze has a very thin consistency, if you prefer a thick and solid glaze you have to double the icing sugar and add a little bit more orange juice until you get the thickness of consistency that you like.


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C. Spray with oil a 7 or 8-inch round pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Cream Butter & Sugar: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and pale in color (about 5 – 10 minutes). Add vanilla extract and continue mixing until vanilla extract is mix through.
  3. Add Eggs: Add 1 egg and continue mixing until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.  Scrape the side of the bowl from time to time. Add the other egg and mix until light and fluffy.
  4. Dry Ingredients: Sift together the baking powder, all-purpose flour, cake flour and salt. Mix to combine the add half of the orange zest and mix again.
  5. Dry + Wet Ingredients: Gradually add the flour in 3 additions alternating with oil and milk (flour, milk, flour, oil, flour) mix just incorporated (about 30 seconds). Take care not to over mix once the flour is added or it can toughen your cake. Easy Orange Madeira Cake Recipe
  6. Transfer in a Pan: Spray with oil an 7-inch/8-inch round pan and line with parchment paper. Pour the batter and level the top using a spatula or back of a spoon.Easy Small Batrch Orange Madeira Cake Recipe
  7. Bake for 26 – 28 minutes or until golden and the cake springs back when pressed. The cake will also start to pull away from the side of the pan. Start checking at 26 minutes to avoid over baking. Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before adding the glaze.Madeira Cake Easy Recipe
  8. Make the Glaze: Mix icing sugar, orange zest and orange juice until smooth and fluid. Pour over the cake and leave for 30 minutes for the glaze to solidify. The humidity could affect the solidification of the glaze. If you are in a colder place, it could solidify faster. If you like a thicker sweeter glaze, add more icing sugar.
Orange Madeira Cake

Serves 8

Enjoy! If you make this, share and tag me in Instagram #SweetNSpicyLiving. I would like to see your creations too.

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