Cherry Madeira


Finally a recipe that doesn’t have all the cherries sunk at the bottom of the cake – because they are cut into quarters first. Once you’re slicing this beauty not a single person will say the pieces of cherry aren’t big enough (however, when someone asks for ‘that cake with all the cherries at the bottom’ feel free to give them a clip round the ear!).

Prep 30 minutes plus cooling
Bake 50 minutes
Oven 160°C (fan)/180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4



  • 250 g (9 oz) glacé (candied) cherries
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) beaten eggs (3 medium)
  • 150 g ( oz) butter, softened
  • 150 g ( oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 130 g ( oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g ( oz) self-raising (-rising) flour

To decorate

  • 50 g ( oz) icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
  • 1–2 tsp hot water


  • Electric handmixer or stand mixer
  • 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin (pan), 18.5 × 11.5cm (7 × 4½in)


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, and line the loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Quarter each glacé cherry with a sharp knife. Not halves, not wholes, they won’t stay up up up! Place the quartered cherries in a sieve over a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow them to stand for a minute before swishing round to wash them free of any syrupy juice. Tip the cherries onto a couple of sheets of kitchen paper – spacing them out and patting them dry. Put them into a dry bowl and set to one side.

  3. Now for the eggs, 3 medium eggs are called for here. Crack them into a jug and beat the yolks and whites together with a fork. You need 150 ml (5 fl oz) of beaten egg and not a drop more. Controlling the liquid content will keep those cherries suspended in the cake mixture, so drain out a little of the beaten egg until you have exactly the right amount. Now on with the cake!
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar – nice and light and fluffy please. Beat in the vanilla extract, then start to add the egg a little at a time and beat well after each addition until it’s fully incorporated.
  5. Weigh out the flours and add one tablespoon to the cherries. Toss the cherries and flour together until they are all lightly coated.

  6. Add the rest of the flour and the coated cherries to the cake mixture and fold together using a spatula until the cake mixture is nice and even.

  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure the cherries are evenly dispersed before spooning the mixture into the loaf tin. Roughly level with the back of spoon and bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Test the cake by inserting a skewer – it should come out clean. If there is still moist cake mixture stuck to it then bake for a further 5 minutes and test again.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully on a wire rack. Once cooled, mix the sifted icing sugar with a little hot water to make an icing with a thick consistency. Drizzle over the top of the cake and serve.