To me, there is something compulsive about the texture and buttery taste of Madeira cake; once I start, I can never stop eating it. I also serve this as a pudding, accompanied by a fresh blood orange jelly or a fruit compote.
Put the milk and saffron in a saucepan, bring to the boil and remove at once from the heat. Leave on one side to cool. Butter a deep
Sift the 2 flours together into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the butter with the sugar and salt until pale and fluffy. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl with a fork and add to the butter and sugar mixture
Using a metal spoon again, mix the saffron milk into the cake mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top level and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 1-1¼ hours, until a small sharp knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.