Chocolate Madeira cake recipe



One of the most popular posts here on Cakes Bakes and Cookies is my mum’s Madeira cake recipe, so it should come as no surprise that I have been asked so many times for the ingredients needed to make a chocolate Madeira cake. After all it does make a superb wedding cake as it tastes lovely and is a nice moist, firm cake that is just crying out to be layered in tiers. It’s really easy to shape too as it doesn’t crumble like a basic chocolate cake will. I used it to make a teddy bear cake recently (more on that soon!) and it was so easy to assemble and carve up. I made way too much cake mix so I had a little layer cake all to myself ….well I did share a bit. I don’t really like buttercream that much so I just filled and topped it with tons of raspberry jam and it was goooood!


Chocolate Madeira cake…mmmmmm!

So here’s the chart with lots of cake tins sizes for you to refer to. The chart is for round cake tins. If you want the measurements for square tins go up one inch in size – so for an 8″ square in you would use the 9″ recipe below- hope that makes sense) If you would prefer to download the chart as a PDF just click Chocolate Madeira Cake Recipes for a 3″ deep cake

 To make the cake

  1. Line your cake tin with silicon paper and pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan).
  2. Blend the butter, margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs slowly until they’re really well mixed in. Add the vanilla essence.
  3. In a separate bowl weigh and sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Mix them so that you have a light brown dry mixture. This will prevent you having any cocoa lumps in the mix.
  4. Add the flour and milk to the butter in three alternating goes.
  5. Pour the cake mix into the tin and smooth with the back of a metal spoon. Bake in the centre of the oven. The cake is ready when you can smell that delicious chocolate cake aroma filling your kitchen. The cake will come away from the sides of the tin and a skewer will come out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
  6. Leave to cool on a wire rack

I hope this chart is really useful. Thanks to all my lovely readers for their comments and questions.

EmmaMT X


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185 Comments on Chocolate Madeira cake recipe… for different sized round cake tins.

    • Thanks Belinda, that’s so lovely of you to take the time to leave such a lovely comment. It’s much appreciated… and makes me smile!


    • Emma please help
      I have made several of your gorgeous chocolate cakes but the same thing has happened to everyone one that is the centre sinks on them please tell me what am I doing wrong they are such delicious cakes. Please can you email me your reply because I seem to lose you on here under all the chat but still keep up the good work I love following all the tips and comments.

      kind regards


      • Hello,

        This is a question I have been asked a lot – especially when it comes to Madeira cake. I have to say that I haven’t experienced that problem a lot. My cake problems usually go in the other direction – massive domed tops!

        There are two main reasons why a cake sinks in the middle.

        1. The oven door was opened during the first half of the cake baking

        2. The cake being taken out of the oven before it’s finished baking.

        The timings have been changed on the original post I wrote a few years ago so make sure you have the upto date timings on the current page. They’re a lot longer than the originals!

        Hope that helps


  1. After spending ages looking for a chocolate madeira cake receipe I have just made this cake for my Husbands 40th birthday on Friday. If it tastes half as good as the mixture did I will be so pleased! 🙂 I just hope it will keep until I cut and ice it Wednesday ready for his party…

    • Ah I’m so glad you like it.

      If you want to keep the cake super fresh you can wrap it in cling film and pop it in an air tight tin. I usually bake cakes on Wednesday, shape and cover them in sugarpaste on Thursday (as that seals them) and do final decorations on Friday for a Saturday party. You could also freeze the plain cake (without any buttercream or sugarpaste) it won’t make any difference. Just allow it to defrost and come to room temperature before you cover it.

      Thanks for such a lovely comment


      • Well it’s baked – took ages though as my oven is very hot so I turned the temperature down a bit. It’s now wrapped in cling film in a box ready for decorating on Wednesday. I’ll see if I can send you a picture once it’s done if it turns out ok …..:)

  2. Hi Emma – been looking for a page like yours for 2 days now and all I have to say is THANK GOD at last…….

  3. Hi – chocolate madeira cake now decorated – i have sent a message and piccie through facebook – hope you get it ok. Thanks again – it is a receipe i will use again and again xx

  4. Finally my cake is baked. You came as God’s Angel Emma!! I was in a panic state when I found your recipe and your promptly answered all my queries. THANKS a lot again!!! Just a few changes to your recipe as I didnt have margarine and castor sugar. Instead of margarine I used 280 gms sunflower oil and ground dermerara sugar to fine coarse. I used 12″ square tin instead of round and it took only 90 mins to bake at 160º in a fan assisted oven. Though I did get a little dome shape in the middle and few cracks too but I am not worried as it will hide behind icing. I hope with all these changes my cake would still taste great. One last query Emma — should I do chocolate buttercream icing or chocolate ganache? And how much quantity will be sufficient to cover a 12″ cake? Thank you so much again and again and again 🙂

  5. Brilliant giving this a go this week. My little girl wants mummy to make a monster high cake for her birthday that looks like a wedding cake!!!! Wish me luck and fingers crossed it doesnt just look monstrous!

    • Oh you’re so lucky. Beau is so into Monster High dolls. She makes things from cardboard for them and she loves it. She found this youtube channel called ‘My froggy Stuff’ – I have no idea where the name comes from but it’s this American woman showing how to make some really cool stuff. Your daughter would probably love it to.

      Here’s the link

      Good luck


  6. Hi Emma
    I am planning on making your delicious sounding Chocolate Madeira Cake on Thursday morning for my husband’s 40th birthday party on Saturday. I plan on using a 12″ square tin as we have quite a crowd coming on Saturday night. Do you have the recipe amounts for this size tin please?
    Also when you say to put some grease proof paper over the mixture going into oven to stop doming, do you mean balanced on the top of the tin or cut to size to sit on the cake mixture?
    And last question…I am planning to layer the cake and put buttercream between the layers. Do I then cover the whole cake in buttercream before the sugar paste icing or could I put a layer of ganache all over and then put the sugar paste over? I wouldn’t put it on thickly. Or is buttercream better?
    Thanks for your help. I have helped a friend decorate a few friends in the past put I’ve never done one on my own but I want to give it a go. It’s a cricket theme! Fingers crossed it will all work out. I’ve found your blog so helpful and great for tips.
    Karen x

    • Hello,

      Your cake sounds deelish! Have a look at this post here with the measurements for a 12″ cake. It’s for a round cake but I have found that it works well for a square cake too.

      To stop the doming I place a piece of baking paper or greaseproof paper over the top of the whole tin so that the edges of the tin hold it up. Some readers have said that their cake sticks to the paper so I would very lightly coat the underside of the paper first. Also cut a small hole in the centre for the steam to escape.

      I’ve never tried to cover a cake with ganache before adding the sugarpaste. My ganache is quite thin and the whole point of adding the buttercream to the outside is to chill it in between thin layers so you can smooth it and have a really flat surface to add the sugarpaste to so you get a perfectly smooth sugarpaste in the end. In this cake I would probably add ganache in between the layers of cakes and add buttercream on the outside, but it may be worth a try with the ganache- let me know how you get on.

      Have a look at this post of creating a crumb coating. It might be useful .

      Good luch and have fun.


      • Thanks so much for getting back to me. I will let you know how I get on. Do you think the 12″ round mixture will be deep enough in the square tin or should I consider making 2 cakes? Our numbers are between 50 and 60 people now!
        Karen x

  7. Oops just spotted my typo…I have helped a friend decorate a few cakes in the past! Not decorate friends. Sorry.

    • Hello,

      I’ve never baked with Spelt flour but I do know that it is heavy than regular plain flour so it may make the cake denser. If you give it a go let me know how you get on.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help


  8. Your chocolate madeira recipe was faultless!! I have never made such a fabulous cake. Looks incredible and tastes amazing. Thank you for your conversion chart too – what a find!!

    • You’re more than welcome. I made an 8″ one last night but I had to convert it to being gluten free. It domed on top so I am going to HAVE to taste test a bit! What a shame!!!

      Thanks so much for your comment.


      • Have just made this and it’s fantastic. How much mix would I need to make 12″ square for wedding cake please

      • Hello,

        So glad it was a success. Can you let me know how much liquid the 12″ square tin will hold and I can work out the ingredients from there? Thanks


  9. Hi, this recipe looks great, can I just check – it’s plain not self raising flour and what would be the measurements for a 27cm tin (11 inches)? Thanks

  10. Hi

    My Madeiras always turn out amazingly perfect, smooth and barely domed. The chocolate ones end really cracked and a little crunchy only on top so I need to take a good 1cm deep layer off. Is it the cocoa powder do you think, or cold milk (instead of hot water like in non choc recipe)?

    Help please!!

    • Hello,

      I don’t know why that would happen. Have you tried covering the cake with baking paper when baking to keep it level? That’s what I do.


  11. Hi Emma , I am also after the measurements to bake an 11 inch round cake. Looking at all the comments on here, it sounds like you have the perfect recipe!

    • Hi Megan,

      Thanks for your question. I don’t have an 11″ cake tin so if you would like to measure how much water your tin can hold I can work it out for you. Just pop a large bag inside the tin then measure how many ml or l of water it holds. Obviously make sure the bag doesn’t have any holes in or you’ll be there all day!


      • Hi Emma, the 11 inch tin holds 4.5 litres of water. Thanks so much for looking into this for me 🙂

      • Hello,

        Your tin seems to hold the same amount as my 12″ cake, 4500ml so you can use those measurements.

        Hope that helps


  12. Thank you Emma for a fantastic recipe. I made my first 12 inch chocolate Madeira cake today and it looks and taste gorgeous. I will certainly be using it again and already passing it on to other members of my family xx

  13. I have made your chocolate madeira cake twice now and it is really lovely. I am now making it as a two tier wedding cake for my son but as I have loads of other things to do I wondered whether I could make the cakes in advance and freeze them. How well do they freeze? I would be grateful for your advice. Many thanks. Eirlys

    • Hello,

      Thanks for your question. I have frozen this cake loads of times but never decorated. The icing gets sticky when it defrosts.

      Once your cake has cooled down after baking you can wrap it in two layers of cling film then freeze it. It only takes around 30 minutes for it to defrost.

      Hope that helps


  14. You mentioned that you made a gluten free version in the comments? Can I enquire into how so…I would love to make this for my friend’s birthday, but we have 2 coeliacs and finding tasty gf recipes is so difficult! Thank you 🙂

    • I have made quite a few gluten free cakes as Darcey’s friend is Coeliac. My best results come from using any recipe and where it says flour I use 50% gluten free flour and 50% rice flour. I also add an egg yolk. It’s been trial and error. I used to use just gluten free flour but the taste and texture isn’t as good. And I did a bit of research and found that other bakers found gluten free flour needs more moisture – hence the extra yolk. Give that a try and let me know how you get on.

      Happy baking.


  15. I have to say I am actually very disappointed. I followed the recipe to the letter for a 9″ round cake. The mixture spilled out over the top massively. I’m hoping that it is still salvageable but I’m not sure that it will be 🙁
    Any recommendations to make sure this doesn’t happen again? Are you meant to halve the mixture? Because your recipe did not say to do this. I put it all in the same tin…

    • Hello,

      I was really sad to read your comment and as I have made this cake many, many times I’m not sure what went wrong. I’ve never had a cake mix spill over the edge of the tin using these ingredient measures. That’s why I measure everything so exactly. Just in case I made the cake again on Friday night. Mine did come out very domed but didn’t reach up to the top of the cake tin. I re-measured the volume of the tin and made a greater allowance for less mixture in a 9″ tin and it still domed but didn’t rise up quite as much. Both cakes baked perfectly.

      Is your tin 3″ deep? This recipe is for a 3″ deep cake that’s 9″ wide. The other cause could be the cake baked too quickly. Do you use an oven thermometer to check the temperature inside matches the temperature on the dial? My oven fluctuates all the time. It’s really annoying.

      I hope this is a one off and hasn’t put you off trying it again. Having just demolished yet another slice with some raspberry jam spread across it I can testify that it is delicious.

      I really hope this helps


  16. Hi Emma. Perhaps you will remember me from a few weeks ago having a mad panic re my son and partner’s chocolate wedding cake and the chocolate fondant that was proving to be problematic. I was also worried about having made the chocolate madeira cakes too soon!! The wedding was last Saturday (16th Aug) and I just wanted you to know that everything worked out really well. I had loads and loads of comments about the chocolate madeira ….. and the chocolate fondant!!! Thank you so much for all your help and advice which gave me the confidence to carry on. Your web site is great. Eirlysx

  17. Hi Emma,

    Just to let you know I tried the gluten free version – it worked well 🙂 was a bit dry/crumbly because I forgot to add xanthan gum, but it tasted nice and I just put extra buttercream on to counter it! (white chocolate buttercream, yum yum). Thanks so much!

    Alica x

  18. Hi Emma, I was so thrilled to find your site as I have been asked to make a three tier sponge cake for our son’s wedding & didn’t know if you could vary the flavours of Madeira cake.
    Just 2 questions if I may .. Why does the choc recipe have milk, but the other, hot water? Can you use either? Also, my future daughter in law would like one layer to be coffee flavoured, would that work with this recipe? The coffee layer would be 10″
    Thank you!

    • Hello,

      I haven’t made a coffee Madeira cake before – but then I don’t drink coffee! I would make up a really strong coffee with the hot water. Use the ingredients on this post

      Omit the vanilla essence and add the instant coffee to the hot water instead. I would guess that you’d need 3 tablespoons for a light coffee flavour but you can always test the mix to see if it’s going to be strong enough. I tend to go for a lighter taste to the cake and then add more flavour with the buttercream. Coffee buttercream sounds amazeballs.

      I hope that helps. Let me know how you get on.


  19. Emma, I am making a four-tier cake for my daughter’s wedding – all using your mum’s Madeira recipe. So far I have made a plain 12″, a chocolate 10″ and an 8″ lemon. Please could you suggest another flavour for the top 6″. Someone has suggested a fruit cake for the top. (My daughter thinks that no-one eats fruit cake any more.)

    Secondly, have you got any delicious tips for fillings?

    I have already noted the raspberry jam and coloured buttercream for the plain Madeira.

    How would you fill the chocolate and lemon cakes? I know that the filling has to be quite stiff as the cake will be iced.

    Looking forward to hearing your suggestions. Your recipe has helped me get on board again. I hardly bake at all these days but have enjoyed doing this with a big incentive!!!


    • Why not make a Whiskey cake? It ticks all the boxes – fruit (you can use any fruit as long as the quantities stay the same) and a good strong flavour. I quite like a moist fruit cake with juicy currants, dates, apricots and cherries but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

      Chocolate cake can be filled with chocolate buttercream.(see this post here) For a wedding cake I would use the one from this recipe which I made for just on the outside of the cake as it’s really rich and super delicious it’s more a ganache than a buttercream and you can add 1 tbsp of alcohol(whiskey/Amaretto/liquer) or 1 tsp vanilla essence and it really flavours the cake and keeps it moist..

      Creamy chocolate buttercream

      100g milk chocolate
      50g butter
      1 tbsp whisky
      100g icing sugar
      1-2 tbsp milk

      To make the frosting

      Once the cake is completely cold, place the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over a low heat until they have completely melted. Take off the heat and stir continuously before adding the whisky. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

      Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl then add the chocolate mix. Whisk until combined then add milk, a little at a time. The ganache should look glossy.

      Leave to cool for a few minutes before covering your cake completely. This is a thin buttercream so let it set in the fridge for 10 minutes between thin layers.

      For the lemon cake I would add zest and juice from lemons (and possibly limes too) I love it when you can see the little yellow and green flecks in the buttercream.

      Hope that helps


    • I’m sure it will still taste great. It just might not rise as much as it could have. Panic ye not!


  20. This recipe looks cool .gonna give it a try tomorrow 🙂 doing 3 tier wedding cake .vanilla , choc and banana cake .wish me luck 🙂 xxx

  21. They work in hexagonal tins too. The smaller ones (6 &8) take a bit longer in the oven but other than that they turned out great. Fab recipe, made 2 separate 4 tier (6,8,10 & 12″) cakes for a friend’s bday and my LO bday party. Really good thanks for sharing the chart made it so much easier 🙂

  22. Super website but ….. just used 9″ round tin quantities to make 8″ square cake and disaster! Cake very risen and cracked, 6″ high in middle! Took forever to cook for skewer to come out clean but top over-cooked. Used Kenwood chef to mix – did I over beat or too much baking powder or what? Oven temp should have been ok as had separate oven thermometer in with cake. Hoping to salvage enough to make a minecraft cake but need to know what to do better another time.
    PS. Cut off top of cake tastes yummy!

    • Hi Jackie,

      Sorry you have had problems. I’ve had a few people telling me that their cakes are taking longer to bake so I have been re-testing every size tin. There are a lot of cakes so it’s taking a while! I just did the 12″ tonight so I’m nearly there. I have just updated the plain Madeira cake chart so I’ll move onto the chocolate one next. I did recently make a 9″ round chocolate Madeira and it only took another 10 minutes so yours shouldn’t have taken that much longer. Did you use the fan? That can sometimes make a cake dome a lot.

      Tricks I’ve been using to prevent doming include wrapping the outside of the cake tin with layers of baking paper tied with string – this slows down the outside edge from baking before the inside is ready.
      I have also been putting a piece of baking paper with a tiny hole cut in the top loosly over the tin half way through the bake to stop the top rising up. This has worked really well so far.

      I hope that helps and hasn’t put you off


  23. Just discovered your chocolate madeira recipe, cant wait to try it! Just one question, can self raising flour be used instead of plain ? Thank you

    • Hello,

      I’ve used just self raising flour when making the plain one and there was hardly any difference. I’m sure the same would be so for the chocolate one. Just omit the baking powder.

      Let me know how you get on.
      Hope that helps


  24. Hi have you ever used this recipe to make a round cake? I’m making one in the shape of a football using Pyrex bowls and wondered what size mix to make?

    • Hello,

      Oh yes! I’ve made tons and tons. Have a look at this post where you’ll see a chart for different size tins

      Hope that helps


  25. Hi, I would like to make the choc Madeira for my sons 2nd birthday. I’ll be using the number 2 shaped cake tin. Which size should I be making in order to have enough mixture for the 2 cake tin? Also what filling would you suggest, maybe a choc buttercream? Thank you

    • Hello,

      Thanks for your question. You’ll need to measure how much water in ml the tin can hold then use the recipe that is closest here for your number 2. Chocolate buttercream is delish with a chocolate Madeira cake. I’ve been adding a drop or two of vanilla essence to mine recently and it is fabulous.

      Hope that helps


  26. Hi, I would like to make this cake for my sons second birthday. I will be using the number 2 shaped tin. Which size cake should I use so I have enough mixture to fill the tin. Also, which frosting would you suggest? Choc buttercream? I will be covering in fondant too. Thanks

  27. Thank you so much for this recipe! It was a lifesaver for me! The cakes took a good while longer to cook than the stated time but it’s probably just my oven. They taste delicious.

    • Hi Kirsty,

      I’m so glad your cakes turned out well. I’m in the process of re-testing the cakes so the timings are better. It’s not your oven at all. I’ll be correcting the table soon.


  28. Just wanted to thank you for this gorgeous recipe. I gave myself the task of a 3 layer fondant covered cake for my daughter’s 1st birthday and needed a dense cake with clear instructions and ingredients. And this worked a treat! Despite the fondant being a bit of a mission but thank goodness for ribbon to hide my sins! Will be subscribing to newsletter of course. Can’t thank you enough really as this was an important cake for me and my little bubba.
    Joanna x

    • Ah thanks. Your comment has made my day! So glad I could help. And yes I love a bit of ribbon hiding mishaps too! Or a star or flower decoration. Anything goes really!


  29. Hi Emma
    I have just made the 9″ chocolate Madeira cake for a friend’s daughter’s 21st birthday and it is probably the best chocolate celebration cake I have ever made. Really pleased with the result!!!

    Many Thanks


  30. Hi Emma,
    I need to make a train shaped 3D cake for my son’s b’day and was wondering if this recipe would work? I need the cake for next sat. so was thinking to bake it and freeze it this weekend, Then take it out thurs. night and do the icing and decorating friday night. Do you think that would be ok or will the cake dry out too much?

    • Hello,

      That would work out perfectly. Ensure that the cake is completely defrosted before you decorate it or you may end up with a bit of a sticky mess!

      Hope that helps


  31. Hi Emma I used this recipe for a cake for my friends Wedding Anniversary. My first cake for anyone outside of family. Everyone loved it 🙂 Thank you for a brilliant conversion chart for the different size tins. I know this might sound stupid but could you please tell me how to work out what size cake I would use for a jumbo cupcake mold xx

    • There’s no such thing as a stupid question in my eyes! The only way I know to measure a cake tin is to measure the volume of water it can hold and then work it out from there. Have a look at the volume amounts on each cake on this chart. If what you need isn’t there just let me know and I’ll get my mathematician’s hat on and work it out for you.

      EmmaMT x

      • Hi Emma
        Thank you for a a great chart I find it very useful and use it all the time. I have one question please can you help me when I cook the madiera cake be it with or without chocolate it always drops slightly in the middle what am I doing wrong. thank you

      • Hi Anthony,

        In my experience this cake only dips when the oven door is opened too early. This cake is notorious for doming on top. I tend to not open the door till I can smell the cake. That’s usually a good indicator that it’s nearly done. If you can’t wait that long give it at least half the baking time for the size tin you’re using.

        Hope that helps


      • Hi Emma, Thank you so much for your reply. I’ve done as you’ve advised. Both moulds are 1900ml. So would I be better using the mix for an 1800ml or taking it to the next size up which is 2200ml? xx

  32. Hi Emma, it’s me again! Last year I tried your chocolate Madeira cake and it was a hit!! This year I am making it again for my daughter’s bday but 10″ one. I hv used everything as per recipe except that I m using 500 gm butter instead of 250 butter n 250 margarine. The thing is when I poured the batter into the tin (10″ round 3″ high) the batter filled till the tin till top leaving no space to rise. I am a bit worried but still kept the tin in d oven. Fingers crossed xx let’s see how it turns out…

    • Hello,
      The butter shouldn’t make any difference but that doesn’t sound right. There should be at least 2-3cm gap at the top – or even more. Let me know how you get/got on.


  33. Hiya. How would this work in Sandwich sized tins? Would u use 2 or 3? And how would you adapt the cooking time? Please? Many thanks xxx

    • Hello,

      I haven’t used this recipe for small, shallow tins as it’s quite a dense cake and makes it all crust and little cake. I have made cupcakes from them but I wasn’t happy with the results. I always favour making a deep cake and slicing it into individual layers.

      The timing all depends on the size of your cake tins. For very small ones I would say it would be very little time – around 15-20 minutes for 7″ sandwich tins -but that that’s a complete guess.

      For a chocolate cake you may want to try this recipe as it works much better for sandwich tins and is a softer, lighter cake.

      Hope that helps


  34. Hi Emma

    I have been asked to make a ‘naked’ wedding cake for a friend and am delighted to have found your Chocolate Madeira cake recipe – thank you!

    I apologise if you have already said this somewhere and I have missed it, but could you give me an idea of how long this cake will last for without being frozen?

    I know with a Victoria Sponge it is usually a couple of days but most Madeira recipes say a couple of weeks.

    Thank you!

    • Hello,

      How trendy! A naked cake. I love them. I did a post of some I found on Pinterest in case you want to have a look (here)

      Have a look at this post where I explain all.

      Good luck and let me know how you get on.


  35. What a fab recipe worked brillant first time round aftrr having a stressful time with my usual choc sponge recipe, do you have a recipe guide for a vanilla recipe please

  36. Hi I’m sure I saw a recipe on here for a 14inch chocolate maderia cake, just can’t seem to find it. I’ve got a football shirt tin to use which at it’s tallest points is 13.7″ x 12″ x 3″ deep so I was hoping the 14″ recipe would work, it holds just over 6 litres of water. Do you think it will or could you please confirm what the correct quantities would be for this particular tin. My oven is quite temperamental too & tends to cook things quicker than it should & I don’t have an oven thermometer

    • Hello,

      I thought I had done that too but I can’t find it either so I have added it to the chart now. Link through here or have another look at this updated post.


  37. Thank you for your recipes. Just one question – on your tables why does the plain madeira cake take so much longer to cook? Or am I missing something?

    • Nope! Well spotted! I adjusted the plain Madeira cake recipe but haven’t got as far as doing the chocolate one. I need to change that! For now use the times on the vanilla Madeira cake recipe.


      • I’ve updated the chart now… in case you still need it!


    • I always use large eggs at room temperature unless my friend brings me some from his chickens then they’re all sorts of sizes!


  38. Hi Emma I just baked the 6″ version and it came out exactly how you said.
    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

    • Ahh thanks Carol, such a lovely comment. Most appreciated


  39. Hi Emma
    I made a 9 inch square chocolate cake using your 10 inch round cake recipe it came out beautifully risen moist and so chocolatee

  40. Hi! I will be making a two tier toy story cake for my son’s birthday. Your recipes sound perfect! Got everything ready to bake tomorrow, decorate on Friday for the party on Saturday! Bottom cake 12inch vanilla Madeira and top 9inch chocolate Madeira. Never made anything this big and also first time using sugar paste but looking forward to the challenge!

    Found this site very helpful!


      • Hi Emma, it went well. The large vanilla Madeira was over baked on the sides and bottom but I managed to cut most of the dark bits off and the middle was still yummy and moist. The chocolate verson came out perfect as did both buttercreams. I really enjoyed working with sugar paste. Love to show you some pics?
        Thanks again, this site was a HUGE help!
        Lucy xx

  41. Hi, I am making my sisters wedding cake next month. Was thinking a 3 tier cake. 10″ 8 ” and 6 at the top. They will be covered in milk and white choc cigarellos. The wedding is on a Saturday. Should I make the cakes the weekend before and freeze them. Choc Madeira at the bottom and vanilla as the middle layer. Or should I rather make them the wednesday and decorate on the Friday? I’ve never frozen a cake before so worried about how it will turn out.

    • Hi there I am doing virtually the same thing 🙂 did U find the cake was deep enough for the cigarellos or did you have to add more layers to it? I’m going to practice a 6 inch and 4 inch tonight, my tins are really deep so in thinking to make the quantity for two 6inches and just fill both tins? Any help much appreciated, starting to panic! X

      • Hi, how did your practise rounds go? To be honest i hadn’t even thought if the cigarellos would fit or not. I’m not making the cake till next month. I’ve practised the two but not with the cigarellos though. How did yours go?

  42. Just doing a practise round. My butter sugar and egg mixture separated, almost like it curdled. Why did that happen. I added the eggs slowly.

  43. Hi there, I’m making a wedding cake for the first time and have found this recipe so helpful! Could you possibly also tell me the quantities/cooking time for a 4 inch round chocolate Madeira cake? Thank you!

    • Hello,

      If you can measure the volume of water the 4″ cake tin can hold I can work out the measurements for you.


  44. Hello, I tried making this cake at the weekend as a practice cake for a wedding I am doing next weekend. I made the 6 inch cake and found I had to bake it for 55 minutes not 35? Just wanted to check if the timings were correct? Many Thanks Katie

  45. Hi Emma, I’ve been reading with great interest all the lovely comments about your Chocolate Madeira cake recipe. I have to bake a 10 inch gluten free one shortly. I note one one your replies was to use 50% gluten free flour and 50% rice flour. Do I also have to add Gluten free baking powder and xantham gum and if so, how much? I look forward to your reply and now, since reading about your cake, a stress free baking session as I have been quite worried about it. Many thanks.

    • Hello,

      I’ve made quite a few gluten free cakes and I always just swap out the regular flour for 50% gluten free and 50% rice flour. I do use gluten free baking powder (although my gluten free friend says it doesn’t matter – I think it’s better to be safe than sorry) I don’t add xantham gum as I’ve never felt the need.

      I hope that helps

      Happy baking

      p.s. The 10″cake will take around 2 hours to bake.

  46. Hello. Looking forward to trying this. I am making a 11″ round tier but it has to be dairy free. Eggs can be used still. Any suggestions as to what to use instead of the butter and margarine? How much batter should be in the tin to avoid it spilling over? About 1/3deep?

    • Hello,

      I measure the volume of my cake tins so that the water is around 1-2cm from the top. I then use the ingredients for that volume.

      I’ve made Madeira cakes with vegetable /sunflower oil in place of the butter before and it came out fine – but it wasn’t as big as an 11″. Mine was an 8″. The key is to use a flavourless oil. The baking times should be the same but keep an eye on it as it’s a biggie.

      I hope that helps


      • Hi,

        I haven’t done the chocolate one, but I have made the vanilla madeira before with Vitalite in place of the butter/margarine. It’s a softer spread than butter or stork, but I generally find it works well for baking. Not so much for buttercream, the softness works against it. My friend can tolerate goats milk so I used goats butter to make buttercream – once you add the flavouring you can’t tell the difference!

        Alica x

      • That’s good to know about the buttercream. I’ll keep that in mind!


  47. Emma I would love to have our advice and help please. I have made the madeira cake both plain and chocolate on several occasions but every time I make it I find it sinks in the middle, please tell me what I am dong wrong and what I can do to stop it please


  48. I have now adopted this recipe as my staple chocolate cake – its deliciously moist and the table allows me to scale up and down as required.

  49. Hi Emma I have been reading all the comments about your Chocolate Madeira Cake I cant wait to try it as I have a number of cakes to make. The first one is a Rolex cake.
    Can you tell me how deep the cake tins you use are please.

  50. Hi Emma, I’m going to be using your chocolate madeira recipe for my son’s birthday cake and this website is great. Can you just clarify which chart I should follow for the different size tins? The chart at the top of the page is double the cooking time for the PDF link you’ve got for us with different size tins. thanks very much

    • Hello, I have re-tested the timing and the longer times are most accurate.


  51. Hi Emma,
    I am trying this recipe but the centre seems to be sinking! Am I doing something wrong ? Thanks Liz

    • Hello,

      This is the opposite problem to what most people experience. I have found that this occurs when the oven door was opened too early or the oven temperature was too low.

      I hope that helps


  52. Hi Emma

    This is a brilliant post (absolute godsend!) and I’m about to try out the recipe but just wanted to let you know that the PDF version of the table is different to the one on this page. I think you must have forgotten to update it when you made your updates to the timings. Everything except the timings is the same plus there is no 14″ cake. Fortunately I noticed the difference before starting and have amended my print out.


    • Thanks Kerry I had completely forgotten to update the PDF. It’s next on my list!

      Thanks so much


  53. Hi Emma, thanks for this very useful chart! I am looking forward to using this recipe for my daughter’s (also called Emma!) birthday next week. She wants a monkey cake so I’ll just be doing a straightforward round 12 inch cake. I’d like to put a filling in though. If I make one 12 inch cake as above, would I be able to cut it in half and fill once cooled? If I made two that’s a 22 egg cake which feels a bit overkill but not sure if a 12 inch cake can take being halved! Thanks in advance!

    • Emma’s rule!

      You would have one massive cake if you made two. The recipes here are the kind you slice in half and fill. You should end up with a 3″ cake.

      Hope that helps


  54. Hi I want to use this recipe to make a square 12 inch cake I know you say the chart above is for round cakes and to make a square one you go up 1 inch does this mean I use the quantities for a 14 inch cake

    • Yep, that’s right but I have had a lot of success with the 12″ round amounts too as the cake has less density and is lighter – just make sure you spread it up the sides of the tin a little.

      Hope that helps


  55. Hi Emma, I used your 12″ recipe in may for my husbands birthday, I used a football shirt tin, the cake was lovely the only problem I had was I think the cake was a little dry and it was very hard around the edges, when you tapped it on the outside it was like tapping a crusty loaf of bread…have you any ideas how I can change this as ive been asked to make another two. Many thanks from lyn x

    • Hello,

      I hate it when that happens. There’s a few things you can do. If it’s a regular shaped tin you can wrap it in paper – I now use silicon paper but have a look at this post
      I’m not sure if you’re able to do this with your T shirt tin though as they tend to be awkward shapes.

      Another tip would be to use sunflower oil to ‘grease’ your tin rather than butter. Butter tends to make a crust and oil leaves your cake much softer.

      Last tip – Add an oven proof bowl of water to the bottom shelf of your oven. Half fill it with water. As the cake bakes the steam from the water keeps the moisture in the oven and the cake. That’s a handy trick I’ve used with much success.

      I hope that helps. Let me know how you get on.


  56. Hi I used your chocolate madeira cake recipe to.make a “minion” cake and the recipe was brilliant! I’d previously made a tractor cake using another chocolate madeira recipe and it was very dry. Your recipe produced a lovely deep cake that I cut into 4 layers, lovely and light and it tasted.great too! I’ll be using it a lot more I think! Thanks again, Alison Carter, Sligo, Republic of Ireland

    • Ahhh thanks Alison for taking the time to leave that lovely comment. That has made my day!


  57. Hi Emma.

    Going to make your chocolate Madeira from the chart. In the box for milk it says 5. Is that teasppons or table spoons. I am making an 8″ round one. Also is this for 2×8 rd tins? Have to bake tomorrow so will await your answer.

    Best wishes


    • Sorry, I’ve been away and knee deep in kids school holidays! I hope your cake turned out well.

      All the ingredients are in tea spoons except the milk which is table spoons


  58. Hi Emma, I’m using your recipe for a birthday cake, so had to have a trial run…..of course… Cake was absolutely delicious was surprised how chocolatey it actual was and it rose beautifully but unfortunately it turned out a little dry 🙁 I have noticed from other comments/posts that you recommend wrapping the outside of the tin to solve this. So, my question is, how much greaseproof/baking paper to I need to wrap the tin in to slow down the cooking? as it is quite thin paper I’m guessing more than 1 layer is needed 🙂 Apologies if this sounds like a daft question but I’m still quite a novice in the baking department 🙂
    Thanks in advance x

    • Hello Kirstie,

      Thanks for your question (not a daft question at all!)

      I use a long strip that will reach around my tin at least once and overlap at the ends. I then fold it over so it is three or four layers thick. I wrap it with 100% cotton twine then pop it in the oven. It really helps even though it’s really thin.

      Another trick is to add a heat proof bowl of water to the bottom of your oven with water in it. The steam helps keep moisture inside.

      Last tip. I now add sugar syrup to my cakes and that’s the biggest winner for a moist cake. Have a look at the link below for more details

      Sugar syrup post

      Hope that helps


  59. Hi Emma,

    I just came across your blog today as I’ve been looking for a decent chocolate madeira recipe for a carved cake that I’m doing. I’ve just taken one out of the oven and it has cooked beautifully & smells delicious. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe with us, really appreciate it x

  60. Your cake is the the oven for my sons 3rd birthay! Very exciting! But having a little wobble about timings??! Unsure whether you’ll see this in time… it’s defintely 110 mins for 9 inch round??? Seems a loooong time! And I found your previous chart with 80 mins and now having a panic… reassurance needed! Thank you! X

    • Sorry I missed your message (School holidays and all that!) so I hope the cake turned out beautifully. Madeira cake does take forever in the oven!


  61. Thank goodness I found your blog. I’m making a cake for my 4 year old granson’s birthday on Thursday. I’ve bought a new 10in deep square baking tin for it. I will cover it with sugar paste and I’ve got a Scooby Doo cake topper to go on top. Can you please give me an idea of the amount of butter cream I need to fill the cake – I will cut it in half and to go round it for the sugar paste to stick to. I can’t wait to try this recipe. If I succeed I might treat myself to a Kenwood Chef!

  62. Hi Emma,

    I’ve made this cake twice now and I’m using a 9″ tin and the 9″ recipe however my cake is not 3″ tall.

    The domes up like a mountain and is really high probably 4″, even though I scooped it out of the middle, its such a waste of cake when I cut the top off to make it level, can you give me any advice?



    • Hello,

      Thanks for your email. Usually when Madeira cake domes excessively it’s because the oven is too hot. Most ovens don’t reach the same temperature inside as it says on the dial so use an oven thermometer where ever possible. Also, avoid using the fan. Fan ovens seem to create bigger domes than non fan ovens.

      IF you’re still finding that you are having problems place a piece of silicon paper with a hole cut in the middle loosly over the top of the tin when you place it in the oven. This slows the baking process and keeps cakes flatter but it also stops the top getting golden so remove it half way through the bake.

      I hope that helps


  63. Hi Emma
    This looks a great recipe.
    I am making the 10 inch version at the moment for a birthday cake. It has been in the oven for 115 mins so far and has domed massively (3 inches above tin level) and has large cracks, but is not even close to cooked in the centre. Any idea why? I am using a fan oven so elected some dome but this is a bit extreme. Think I may have done something wrong???

    • Hi Cat,

      Thanks for your email. You didn’t do anything wrong at all. Madeira cake is supposed to dome and crack a little but yours does sound like it’s going for the volcano look. Next time ensure you use the lower fan oven temperature which is always 20 degrees lower than for electric ovens. If you already did that lower it by 5-10 degrees more. It sounds like the oven was too hot. This can happen easily and without you knowing unless you have an oven thermometer. Most ovens reach a different temperature to the one on the dial!

      Of all the emails I receive about problems baking this recipe it’s nearly always bakers with fan ovens. All I can say is switch off the fan if you can and if not get to know your oven really well.

      Hope that helps

      Happy baking


    • Hello,

      Ordinarily I would say use a 10″ round recipe but your tin is very deep and this recipe would give you a 3″ cake. Do you want the cake to be 5″? I haven’t baked a cake that deep in one go before – I tend to bake two cakes separately as I find the deeper the cake mix in a tin the heavier the cake in the end. This means I tend to bake two cakes separately – and add a ton of buttercream to add even more height.

      I hope that helps


      • Hi, i needed the square as i am attempting a 3d Thomas cake for my sons 3rd birthday. I used the 12″ and I’ve filled the square tin, a bread loaf tin and a round tin – so now i’ve got plenty to play around with 🙂

  64. Hi, Really pleased I found this site, I have be ‘advised’ by my soon to be 7 year old daughter that I have to make her birthday cake this year!!! I will making the Choc Madeira cake in a 10″ square cake tin, when you mix the butter/margarine and sugar together I assume you use a mixer but do you still use the mixer when adding the eggs and then fold in the flour or continue to use the mixer to mix in the flour.

    • Thanks Neil, always great to get a comment like that.

      I use a hand held mixer right up to the time I add the flour. Then I use a large spoon and fold it in the best I can – scraping with a silicon spatula to ensure all the flour is incorporated at the last minute.

      Hope that helps

      Happy Baking


      • Hi Emma

        Thanks for the prompt reply, I am going to try a test run this weekend, I have a 25cm x 25cm x 3cm square cake tin, would you recommend the 10″ round mixture for this size or move up to he 12″

      • Oh I love a ‘test run’. That’s code for any excuse to eat more cake!

        You are the third person to ask me for the ingredients for a 10″ (25cm) Square cake this week and it’s only Wednesday! I feel a new post coming on!

        Here is a link to the ingredients you need for the 10″ cake

      • Obviously a popular choice at the moment, last question for now i pronise, would you add 1 egg at time with a spoonful of flour on each pass

      • I tend to break up the eggs with a knife and add a little at a time only adding flour if the mixture curdles.

      • Hi Emma, just a little confused, the recipe you sent me in the link above says you should use water, but in the recipe at the top of the page you say use milk

      • Emma, i had my test run at the weekend with mixed results, the case rose in the middle and cracked on top, cake was a little dry and hard around the edges, will try to reduce temperature another 10 degrees to see if that helps, but any other tips worth regards to dryness and cracking

  65. Hi there, i’m trying to do a cigarello cake for my parents 50th wedding anniversary and i know the cake cannot be higher than 3 inches in order for whatever i decide to put in the centre of the cake to stay in the centre rather than spilling out if you know what i mean! Just a few questions – do you think an 8 inch cake would work – was going to fill and cover with icing as i need the cigarello’s to stick to something and i was also wondering why you use a mix of margarine and butter as i normally always just use unsalted butter in my baking. Many thanks in advance. Lorna

    • That sounds like a lovely cake. Your parents are very lucky.

      In answer to your questions:-

      – Yes the 8″ cake would work beautifully
      – I would cover the outside of the cake with chocolate ganache. It will be concealed behind the cigarillos and any ganache you can see will be camouflaged.
      – For the filling make a thick ganache or buttercream and chill before covering in ganache on the outside of the cake. That way it will set and won’t squidge out.
      – I use butter and margarine only in this madeira cake recipe. I’ve tried it all other ways. Just butter is too dry. Just marg doesn’t taste as good. Both makes a light cake that tastes great and stays moist.
      – another thought. when you bake your cake you can always cut down the cakes so the end result will be 3″ exactly when it’s filled in the middle.

      I hope that helps. Happy Baking


  66. I just wanted to say that your chocolate madeira has become my go-to for birthday cakes in the last year (5 of them in total). I’ve just finished baking two 8 inch ones for twins, and I know they’ll go down a treat at the weekend!

    • Ahhh thanks Nia, that’s so kind of you to take the time to say. Much appreciated!

      Happy Baking


  67. Hi Emma, I’ve used this and your vanilla Madeira recipe and it’s fantastic, so thank you for sharing! I made the chocolate sponge a couple of days ago for a 3 layer cake, and the base was quite tough. Did you ever have this issue and what do I do to prevent it next time?

    • Hello Dharm,

      I use oil to grease my cake tins which gives a softer cake edge. I also wrap my cake tins in rolled up silicon paper so the outside bakes slower to give the middle a chance to bake before the outer edge is burnt! That usually does the trick.

      Hope that helps


  68. Hello EmmaMT!

    This recipe looks perfect and I’m hoping to make it for my son’s 8t birthday party! I’m just wondering, I plan to do your 10 inch cake but was wondering what size the eggs need to be? I have large eggs but am unsure if they are the correct size.

    Thank you and advance 🙂


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