I’ve been away from the kitchen for the last few days. We were in the Netherlands for a close friend’s wedding and spent some time visiting family while we were there.
The weather has not been kind lately. Instead of glorious sunny spring days, we’ve been having a lot of rain with temperatures completely wrong for this time of the year. Yesterday was an exception though. The sun was shining and the skies were bright. I took this as a sign to make something nice after what’s been a long enough break.
Since baking always has a comforting effect on me not to mention the wonderful smells it fills the house with, I decided on trying out a simple cake. A bottle of madeira has been lying on the kitchen counter ever since I got it to make some zabaglione a while ago. There were also some raisins in the cupboard. So the idea was hatched to soak some raisins in the alcohol and use it in a sponge cake like batter to make a cake.
I never knew that the ‘madeira’ cake that’s so popular and commonly found in Ireland doesn’t actually have any madeira in it. Although, I did suspect this as the cake has no alcohol flavour whatsoever. Apparently, this English delight got its name from the fact that it used to be served with a glass of madeira in the good old days.
So my version has the actual wine in it in the form of madeira soaked raisins. I thought it added a nice touch – the wine adding an extra dimension of flavour in an otherwise straightforward cake.
Madeira Raisin Loaf Cake
5 tbsp madeira
185g self raising flour/cake flour
20g ground almonds
a pinch of salt
170g granulated sugar
3 large eggs
a few drops of vanilla extract or essence
Soak the raisins in the madeira for an hour or two. Preheat the oven to 180C (conventional). Grease and line a loaf tin and set aside.
Mix together the flour, ground almonds and pinch of salt. Beat the sugar and butter together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract/essence.
Fold the flour mixture through the sugar-butter mixture slowly until it’s all mixed through. Add the raisins along with the madeira to the batter.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. Place the tin in the oven and bake until done for an hour or so or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake turning too dark before it’s done, cover the tin lightly with some foil.
Once done, take the tin out of the oven, place on a wire rack and let cool completely before taking the cake out.
Serve in slices when hunger pangs strike mid-afternoon. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.