Friday, 5 December 2014

Balliol Madeira Cake

Bruce has taken on the role of Chaplain at Balliol College, Oxford; so I thought a celebration cake was in order and what better than a Madeira cake. Few will argue that a Madeira cake isn't one of the very best cakes ever created and yet, ironically, finding a good quality one that's available commercially is nigh on impossible. The Madeira cakes available at the shops are dreadful and only good for mopping up the odd spillage sadly not heavy enough to prop a door open.
I created this recipe, based on an old Kinsey family recipe, using beurre noisette, easy enough to make and certainly worth the extra effort. Bruce himself is an excellent cake maker and I am sure his Great Grand Mama would approve.

Welcome to the people of Anguilla, bringing the number up to 136!

For this recipe you will need;
300g of Self Raising flour
250g of caster sugar
250g of unsalted butter
80g of sour cream
4 medium eggs
100g of ground almonds
A pinch of salt

Begin by making the beurre noisette, simply brown butter which as the French term suggests takes on a nutty flavour. Place the butter in a small pan and on a low heat melt it and continue heating gently until it stops foaming. At this point strain it through a piece of kitchen paper towel placed in a sieve over a bowl. Strain out the milk solids. You should end up with clear, golden melted butter. Return the butter to the pan and again on a gentle heat continue heating until the butter turns a nut brown, be careful not to go beyond to a darker colour. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Prepare a large loaf tin, I usually line mine with parchment paper, turn on the oven to 170C.
Meanwhile whisk the eggs and sugar until they form a creamy foam. Whisk together the sour cream, salt and the beurre noisette, whisk into the sugar and egg mix and fold in the flour and ground almonds. Once the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, pour into the prepared laof tin and place in the center of the oven. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when pushed into the center of the cake.

Algy is very fond of keeping his nose just under the rug

If you wish you can substitute ground hazelnuts for the ground almonds, also toasting the ground almonds and allowing them cool completely before using, will enhance the flavour.


  1. Hi,

    I'd like to invite you to join our site . I really enjoy your blog and recipes and I think the over 8,000 unique daily visitors to eRecipe will too.
    By joining eRecipe, we will provide the Nutrition Facts for every recipe you post in which you could customize and add to your blog. Viewers need and love to know the nutritional facts. Its a free service that we offer to blogs and recipes we really love. It looks professional and your members will love it.
    Simply visit or contact me at We look forward having you in our network!


  2. Lucky Balliol to have another cook in the place, their own college chef is rather fine, so I presume they will get on well. How lovely to have a family of cooks, and I presume recipes. I do envy the Kinsey household with memories of past foods and dishes. Have they been published anywhere?

  3. Some of the old family recipes do make it onto this blog I'm pleased to say. Thank you for your comment, I do hope you enjoy some of the dishes, none of the recipes is particularly difficult to recreate, best wishes, Tôbi.