This rosemary madeira loaf tastes surprisingly complex for such a simple recipe. The cake, an old favourite of Nigella Lawson's which demands minimal ingredients, is delicious proof that baking your own cake is cheaper, healthier and so much tastier than buying one. You can use lavender if you prefer a softer, milder taste; personally I love the woody dusky sweetness the fresh rosemary brings to this madeira.
Taken from Nigella Lawson's recipe from her wonderful baking bible, How To Be A Domestic Goddess, a call to bake if ever there was one. Buy the book on Amazon here.
200g golden caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
210g self raising flour
90g plain flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk
approx 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary needles, chopped small
1-2 tablespoons golden caster sugar or rosemary sugar
1. Turn the oven to 170C (150C fan oven) and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth and combined, then add the eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of flour after each one, whisking them in.
3. When all the egg has been beaten, add the teaspoon of vanilla extract, and stir before adding the rest of the flour. Gently stir with a metal spoon until well mixed in.
4. Add the milk to the batter, stirring again gently until combined.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin, and sprinkle some caster sugar or rosemary sugar ontop.
6. Place in the oven and bake for approx 1 hour. You'll know it's done when the top bounces back under your thumb and a skewer comes out clean.
7. Leave to cool for 15 mins in the tin, before removing the cake and leaving it on a wire rack to cool.
This cake was idly baked to The Black Keys' album Brothers