Madeira is a plain cake that was first baked in the eighteenth century, when it was served mid-morning with a glass of Madeira, a sweet fortified wine – hence the name. It is easy to make in a food processor and you could, if you so wish, drink a glass of Madeira while switching it on and off to get into the spirit of the thing.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the butter in the bowl of a processor with the caster sugar. Blitz to a cream, scraping down the sides. With the machine running, add
Bake towards the bottom of the oven for 70–75 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before running a palette knife round the cake and turning out on a rack.
When completely cool, wrap in foil or cling-film and put into a tin, steeling yourself not to eat any until the next day, when it will be better than if devoured immediately.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.