Today’s post is a nod to our beloved Great British Bake Off’s first signature bake of the series: the Madeira cake. Simple, classic and perfectly plain. I’ve decided to bring it bang up to date and add some matcha to mine (kindly sent to me by the online tea shop The Teamakers to try) so my Madeira is still pretty simple but not very classic and actually pretty jazzy. Classic with a twist. A very very green twist. Think traditional England meets traditional Japan!
Matcha is a beautiful thing. Not only does it have a wide range of health benefits (see my last matcha post here where I loudly sing its praises), and an awesome neon glow, it’s got the most fantastic taste. It’s earthy and complex and also sort of sweet. It has bucketloads of umami – our fifth taste – which is a sort of pleasing savouriness. I think I might have described it very poorly but trust me that it pairs beautifully with the dense, buttery, vanilla-sweet sponge!
So is it healthy? Well…I have used golden unrefined caster sugar which is a great alternative to the usual white refined caster sugar, and matcha does pack a serious punch in the health department. That said, at the end of the day, this is cake. Cake, at its best, is buttery and sweet and a total treat. So, in short, of course not – but almost anything is a good idea in moderation, I say… so go on, have a slice…
This striking green Madeira cake has a close crumb, signature cracked top, and the unusual addition of green tea adds a lovely delicate and creamy sweetness. I’ve also used duck eggs which add a wicked richness to proceedings (but feel free to swap out for large hen’s eggs).
Matcha duck-egg Madeira cake
Makes one loaf
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 175g unsalted butter, softened and cubed (plus extra for greasing)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3 duck eggs (free-range please)*, lightly beaten
- 250g plain flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
- 2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder (I used The Teamakers)
*If you prefer, you can substitute one large hen’s egg for each duck egg.
Preheat your oven to 170°C. Butter and line the base of a loaf tin with baking paper and butter the sides.
Using a food processor with the paddle attachment (or mixing bowl and wooden spoon…), cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Whisk in the vanilla essence and eggs (one at a time), scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is incorporated. Tip: If you’re worried about the mixture curdling, add a spoonful of flour with the addition of each egg.
Fold in the (rest of the) flour, baking powder and matcha powder. Tip: the batter will be thick but if it’s so thick that it won’t fall off a wooden spoon without serious encouragement, mix in a few tablespoons of milk.
Pour into your prepared tin, level the top, and tap sharply against the counter to knock out any air pockets. Bake for about 1 hour, or until risen and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.
Best eaten within a couple of days of baking (store in an airtight container) but freezes very well too.
Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.