I’ve been making cakes for as long as I can remember. You know how it is growing up in a traditional Jewish household? Your mum cooks, bakes and tinkers in the kitchen all the time and not just for you and your family, but for the whole community! Well that’s where my love of baking comes from. Helping mum and licking that mixing spoon dry!
Now celebration cakes, bakes and cookies are what rock my world.
This blog is all about baking. I’m self taught in decorating cakes and I want to share my baking and decorating journey, trials and tribulations with you and help others pick up techniques and have fun in the process. I also can’t get enough of cookery and baking books so I’ll be reviewing them along the way and if a baking tin/spoon/spatula/rolling pin or any other baking related item comes my way I’ll be giving you the low down on that too!
p.s. I only look like this with a hair and make-up team.
p.p.s. I’m an Interior Stylist and Writer for my grown up job so I am often away from my little home office for days at a time. If you leave a comment or question for me I will get back to you – just sometimes it may take a day or two!
p.p.p.s Disclaimer: I am totally self taught so any recipes/ ingredients / quantities are all from my own trial and error – not to mention copious amounts of taste testing. I’m no expert. I just like tinkering in the kitchen…. a lot!
Emma, I am so impressed with your cakes. Mine are always a disaster. I’ve already got sweaty palms at the thought of making my five year old son’s cake at the end of the month. The main problem is quantities and cooking time/temp for the size of the tin. I like a Madiera cake and have a 10inch cake tin. I made a football cake last year, which was passable, until you cut into it and the two huge dips were revealed (I filled them with about four inches of butter icing!).
So if you have any tips on the actual cake recipe plus oven temp and cooking time for a 10 inch circular cake tin, I’d really appreciate it.
Good luck with your dream.
Thanks so much for your comment. For a 10″ cake I would probably double my Madeira recipe but I know it will make a very large cake. I usually bake more cake than I need that way when it rises above the top of the tin I can use the edges to slice off the extra and get a really flat and neat finish.
I am baking tomorrow so I will test out some smaller quantities for a 10″ Madeira cake and let you know what they are.
When it comes to baking temperatures I always bake my big or deep cakes slowly at 150°C. I had a dodgy old oven in my old kitchen and everything had to be baked slowly. Now I do everything that way. Try not to open the oven too soon as that will cause the cake to dip.
Till next time, bye for now
I am confused as you say that you bake a large cake at 150 degrees but the Chocolate Madeira cake recipe says 180 degrees which I would have thought was too high. I need to make this cake as a layer for a wedding cake and don’t want to get it wrong.
Thanks Emma. That’s really useful, although not entirely sure what you mean about using ‘the edges to slice off the extra’.
Also, last year, I ended up making two 10-inch cakes and sandwiching them together, as a cake of that size needs the height, I think. I guess it would be hard to bake one big, high 10-inch cake. What’s your opinion?
Where are the cake recipes on your website?
Thanks and look forward to your reply.
The link to my Madeira recipe which didn’t show up just then ( I don’t know why!) is here:-
Sorry I didn’t make sense earlier. What I meant was that when I bake a cake I fill the cake tin so that it will rise in the oven so that it goes right up to the top edge of the cake tin. Then when I take it out of the oven I let it cool down in the tin. You can then use the sides of the tin as a guide and with a big bread knife held flat to the top of the tin slice across the top of the cake to leave you with a really flat surface. My Madeira always has a dome on the top. I don’t mind this as I can always taste it then !!!
If you’re worried about the cake mix spilling over just line the tin with baking paper that is higher than the tin. Remove the paper before you cut across the top.
I usually make one cake, even for a 10″ tin and then slice it in half. If you use the scoop method (where you scoop the cake mix up to the sides of the tin before you pop it in the oven) the cake will cook more evenly. My cakes are usually around 2½” – 3″ tall. But if you are more comfortable baking two cakes separately then stick to that.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with a nice thick layer of butter-cream either. I’m all for it in fact!
Hope that helps
hi if you bake the divide the cake mixture in separate tins what will the cooking times be?
I’m afraid I don’t have the details for the times as I always bake in one go. I would suggest checking the two cakes at half the original time and see how the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed. They will take less time but they will probably rise a lot more too.
hope that helps
I’ve had a mad baking weekend and I now know that I need to understand the science of baking a whole lot more.
I tried to add a third of my Madeira ingredients to my original measurements which basically produced a pancake! So I tried again and doubled the original recipe and baked a nice big 10″ round cake which came out perfectly. So I won’t be messing with the science till I understand it a whole lot better!
Good luck with your cake. Please send me a picture after your little ones birthday. I’d love to see it.
I wondered if you could give me a bit of advice?
I have trawled the Internet for how to make fondant sunflowers and I haven’t found a single useful website!
At the risk of sounding like a suck up I thought I’d ask you as your cakes are amazing!
Thanks in advance x
Mmmmmm…. let me have a think / play with that one and get back to you. Watch this space!
My name’s Clare and I’m part of the DotComGiftShop team.
I recently discovered your excellent blog, Cakes, Bakes & Cookies and wanted to let you know we’ve included it in our post ‘Biscuit Blogs We Love’. You can see the post here:
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Being informal, you aren’t obliged to do anything. Although it would be great if you could:
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All the best,
I absolutely love what you’re doing here so I’ve nominated you for the Kreative Blogger Award. Keep up the fantastic work
Why thank you. What a complete compliment!
I just thought I would let you know that my blog has moved and is now bighungrygnomes.co.uk. Unfortunately, if you want to remain subscribed to my blog, you will have re-subscribe to this new address. I realise this is a little bit of a nuisance but I would really appreciate your continuing support and interest in my blog
Consider it done!
Have you just switched to .org from .com? That’s my next move. Was it a nightmare?
One of my friends is fantastic with computers so I had a lot of help from him with creating the new domain. I’ve moved from .wordpress.com to .co.uk. It’s been a slight nightmare getting the functions I want from wordpress as I have lost them by moving away from their servers, and I am still struggling to get the blog looking as I want to, but I’m getting there.
I’ve got an interiors blog that I am setting up at the mo (as that is my day/ grown up job) and I set it up on WordPress.org just so I could learn how to use it. It’s surprisingly different but I’m getting there too. Should be ready to launch in about 10 years time!
I wanted to get in touch with you as we have a few cake books we thought you might be keen to review or feature author guest posts. I can’t seem to find your contact details anywhere. Could you give me an email on email@example.com – Tina
Hi Emma. I have a cool new baking product you just have to check out..where can I send you an email??? Thanks so much and cool site!!!
How exciting! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello, I wonder if you can help me… I am making a cake for my sons first birthday – I aim to make your recipe as the ‘foundation cake’ and then make an ark out of icing to place on the top – It has to be firm enough to take this weight obviously, im hoping it will be. I am using a 12inch square tin and wondered what quantities I should use – once I have the quantities for that size tin do I halve them and bake it twice for top and bottom or use them as they are and bake two? Hope that makes sense
Thanks so much for your question. I am assuming you are thinking about using the Madeira cake recipe. If so that is perfect for a foundation cake as it is firm yet moist and super tasty. That’s what I used for my Ark cake.
If you are worried about the ark sinking into the cake you can always get a small thin cake board and make the ark on that. It will create a base for the ark to sit on and distribute it’s weight evenly on the cake.
For a 12″ cake I use 3 x my Madeira cake recipe. You can bake it all in one go and then slice it in half to add buttercream and jam or you can make up half the ingredients and bake the two cakes separately – which is what I do. The cake is quite heavy and I find that baking in two goes makes for a much lighter cake.
If you are going to make the cake in two separate cakes don’t be tempted to mix all the batter up in one go and leave half waiting for the first cake to bake. All the air in the cake mix that is waiting will disappear and it’s that air that makes it light and fluffy. Mix the ingredients separately. Sorry- I know it’s a pain but it’s worth it in the long run.
I really hope that helps. Good luck.
Hi Emma, I love this blog! I am wanting to use your madeira cake for Mum’s 70th birthday. I have an amazing cake topper I designed & need a ‘support’ cake. Reading your above comment I’m a little confused about baking in 2 goes. The 12″ calls for 11 eggs, without sounding stupid, how do I do that? My instinct is to use 6 in each go. I really want to do this right. I’m the world’s least creative person but am very happy with my topper as it is my Mum to a ‘T’ & would like the cake to be spectacular from top to bottom. If you don’t have a chance in time to answer please know this Irish Catholic chick from Australia is very impressed with what you do. Baking creates a better, happier world! Thanks for the time you put into this. Regards, AM
Thanks so much for your lovely comment. There are a lot of comments on my mum’s Madeira cake post and if you look back to when I wrote it it was aaaaggesss ago! Since then I have come up with a much better system and I actually have complete success baking larger cakes in one go now and then slices them in half. Have a look at the post on different cake tin sizes here
It’s all about the measurements!
Just in case you need to split an egg in half another time- what you do is crack it into a cup and weigh it. Beat it a little then you can measure what half the weight is.
You’re cake topper has me completely intrigued! If you get a sec you can share your cake on the CakesBakesAndCookies Facebook page so I can see it.
Good luck and I think you’re right baking does create a better and happier world!
Hi Emma. I’ve recently make the lemon and raspberry cupcakes from Peggy’s Porsches book and would now like to attempt the lemon limoncello cake. Do u know where I could buy or make the lemon limoncello jelly?
Thanks for your question. You can get Peggy’s Lemon and Limoncello jelly from her on line store- This is the link or you can use a good quality lemon curd. I like the Duchy Originals which is available at Waitrose.
I hope that helps. You’ve really made me want some lemon cake now!
Hi Emma, just found your blog and it’s “oh so useful”. I am making my son’s wedding cake aaah! I love baking and make some very nice cakes for tea, but a 4 tier wedding cake – oh my gosh!. I thought I would use your madeira cake recipe (as well as a fruit and chocolate mud cake) as I will have to bake 5 days ahead and transport it to Scotland for the wedding. The recipes need to be long lasting and taste fresh after all that time. My question is do you think the madeira will cope with the time scale and weight of fondant, should i use all butter or mix it with margarine for a softer crumb and what size eggs are best? Sorry for such a big question. I will be icing 4 days before the wedding!
Thank you so much for any tips you may have
Thanks for your questions. How lovely yo be making your son’s wedding cake. That’s so special.
Right. Don’t panic. A wedding cake is like any other cake- just it has more icing and needs a few posts to keep it stacked! Madeira cake is a really long lasting cake. If you bake it one day and cover it in buttercream and sugarpaste (roll out icing) the next it is essentially sealed and will stay fresh for over a week. I have a friend who was still eating her cake a week after it had been cut. That’s nearly two weeks after it was baked!
Remember to place each cake tier on a thin cake board. The sugarpaste will cover the board. You then need to add 3-5 posts to each tier. The cake with boards will rest on these posts. If you stack cakes directly onto one another they can sink into each other.
I always use 50% butter 50% margarine when I make madeira cake now and it comes out really light and fluffy every time – I use a basic butter (not the cheapest supermarket brand – the next one up) and Flora margarine as they give me the best results. President butter is the best for buttercream but it’s too firm for cake mixes.
I use large eggs now.
If you are stacking the cakes on top of each other you can travel with the cake finished but always place it in the boot of the car and make sure it’s wedged into place so it can’t move around. I also always take an emergency kit with me – royal icing in a tube/ spare icing/ smoothing kit etc- just in case I need it when I arrive at my destination.
I hope that all makes sense and helps you.
Thank you for your reply. I was wondering if u have a good cake recipe for a 20cm and 23cm tin size. I have chocolate cake ones but not plain sponge. It’s to make a two teir pirate cake that will b covered in fondant for my little ones birthday. I have found a Couple on line but they have cake flour in them. Do u know If I can just replace that quantity with plain flour?? Thanks for your help
I’ll be putting Madeira cake recipes up for different size tins this week so keep an eye out.
I haven’t come across cake flour before but according to Nigella – her website says that it can be substituted by……
” for 1 cup cake flour (140g) measure out 1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons (25g) of the all-purpose flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons (20g) of cornstarch. Whisk or sift the flour and cornstarch together before using. If you don’t have any cornstarch available then just substitute 1 cup less 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour for the 1 cup of cake flour.”
You can see her info here
I hope that helps
i have a birthday football shirt cake to do this week for my daughter i have the correct pan but do not know the correct ,measurements i need for this pan any ideas emma
sorry emma i already mentioned that im going to do a football shirt cake and i have the correct tin for said shirt it is 3inch deep can you suggest the correct measurements for a chocolate cake for this pan got to start it later thanks emma
Sorry, I’ve been away shooting. Did you get your measurements?
I was wondering if I may be able to get the contact details so I can get in touch with some exciting news.
Hello, You can email me on email@example.com
i have just b ought a shirt cake tin 28×29-5.5cm would your mums cake be OK for this please if not do you do you have a recipe ty
If you could measure the volume of water in ml that the cake tin can hold you can have a look at this post there are volume amounts for different size cakes.
Hope that helps
Hi, I was wondering what size eggs you use in your madeira cake recipe?
I use large eggs.
Hi Emma, I’m a new and infrequent baker but as the mother of 2 young boys (3yrs and 6 months old), need dictates that I learn to bake funky birthday cakes etc and your website is such a help! Thanks!!!
I love the firetruck cake you made for Asher and will attempt one for my boy’s 3rd birthday soon… Do you have a tutorial for it stashed somewhere??
Ahh sorry it looks like I didn’t do step shots for that cake. Sorry.
No worries, thanks anyway!
So tonight I’m making a couple of Madeira cakes following your recipes (plain and chocolate) – and then tomorrow, hopefully, those cakes will take the shape of a dinosaur. May share a pic if all goes well …… watch this space!
So? How did it go? Are we going to see pics????
Hi Emma, I’m just about to make a Minion cake for my son’s sixth birthday, and I’d like to use your Madeira recipe. Can you tell me what size the eggs should be? Thanks so much, Sally
Hello, I use large eggs.
I love you recipes and am going to try the 10inch Madeira for the bottom layer of my husbands 40th cake. I was going to cut each cage in half and fill with buttercream and jam/lemon curd!
There is 90 people coming so I was going to make three teirs! I wanted to know how long before I could start making them as I take ages decorating. It is for a Saturday night! Can I make cakes on Wednesday, crumb crust and ice on thurs and decorate on Friday? Thanks so much for your help.
What you have described in your timings is exactly what I do. Bake on Wednesday, decorate on Thursday and Friday and eat as much as I can after all that hard work on Saturday – at least when it’s for family!
Thanks for stopping by the blog and all your kind words
I’ve came across your site while looking for recipes for long life cakes and cookies/biscuits. I am flying from UK to China for a Christmas party at orphanages there, and would love to bring some homebaked gifts for the children. With all the flying and travelling, it’s going to take 5 days from the time I leave my kitchen to the time I actually see the children!
Do you have any recipes for small cakes and cookies/biscuits that can last for a week?
Thanks a lot in advance!
Wow! That sound amazing! Well done you!
I would make these vanilla cookies as once in an air tight container – even if decorated with royal icing, they’ll stay fresh for up to a month. You’ll be able to wrap some tissue paper or silicon paper around them to stop them moving around and breaking.
Something to consider is whether China let’s you take food into the country. I know when my brother travels back to Australia he can’t take any food of any description with him. I’d hate for you to spend time and money and then have to leave them at security at the airport.
Thank you soo much for sharing your chocolate Madeira cake. I’ve spent a fortune in my quest to find a moist, delicious cake that was firm enough to cover in fondant and stack. I was recently in a big panic as a friend wanted a 3 tier chocolate making and I stumbled over your website and the rest is history. Gorgeous ? Now to try your ganach and buttercream mix. Have a great Christmas x
Thanks Dot. Your comment made my day.
Hi I’ve always used your Madeira and choc Madeira recipes but never written them down just gone to the website. Is there anyway of getting them please? Hope you’re ok? 🙂 thanks Carla x
I am baking with your Madeira recipe and I just wondered how long it would keep onced iced? Many thanks
Hi Emma, I’ve been using your Madeira recipe now for a while and it’s brilliant! I’ve made all sorts of cakes using it.
I was wondering if I could use this recipe for cupcakes? Or if not, do you have a good cupcake recipe at all? Thank you xxx
Hi, I use your Madeira cake recipe for all my cakes and it is excellent!!
I wondered if u had a good vanilla cupcake recipe? Or cud I use the marrieds recipe for cupcakes? Thank!
Emma, please can you help….I am going to use your chocolate Madeira cake recipe for my daughter’s 2nd birthday cake next week. If I was to split the cake mixture into 2 tins how does that change the cooking time?
I then just have to master sugar paste to make the sharks for the baby shark theme :-s
Thanks in advance.
I am making the 8” original recipe you posted as I only just found your updated chart.
Please, as I normally bake in 2 tins could you give timings for sandwich tins too.
I have been using your recipes for along time now with great success which I am very grateful for, I was wondering if you had a carrot cake recipe that I could adapt to the round cake tin sizes/quantities as it has been requested,
thanks in advance Ria x
Hi Emma, I really would like to try your chocolate Madeira recipe. I’ve got a 9×12 cake tin. It holds 3000ml. Which recipe should I go for. Thank you x
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Hi Emma, your blog is amazing! Thank you. I have been fretting over making my son’s 3rd birthday cake in a couple of months’ time. We’re doing a construction site cake with trucks and diggers, and your chocolate Madeira cake recipe sounds perfect. Thank you so much for scaling it for us, too. I have a probably silly question, though… I’m going to be using 2 x 9” round tins and 1 x 6” round tin. (The tins are deep, too (4”), although that probably doesn’t matter and I’d be just as happy with 3”. I’d then like to split each cake after baking, so that the bottom 9” will end up as four skinny layers and the top 6” will be another 2.) However, what I’m not quite sure of is whether your really helpful scaled ingredients table is per complete cake or per tin … so for my two 9” cake tins, would I need to double the 9” recipe or is it enough for two cake tins/two layers (which for me will then become four?) I’m guessing the latter, but …?!! Aargh! Why are birthday cakes so stressful?! Hope you can help xx
I think I understand what you’re asking.
You want nice deep cakes. My Madeira cake recipes are generally 3″ deep. So if you bake a 9″ cake it will be 3″ and then you can slice it so you have layers.
With Madeira the less amount of cake mix you put in a tin the lighter the cake is and the more it will rise. If you used the ingredients for ONE 9″ cake tin but split it between two 9″ tins (half the mix in each) and bake together you’ll have two 3″ cakes. That will give you more height.
I hope that helps