When in Lisbon, my day usually begins with delicious soft fried eggs. Their trembling yolks are so orange it looks like the sun is smiling up from my plate. They come served with a sprinkle of oregano and cracked pink peppercorns, and delicious garlicky peppery salami and sausages; and bacon thinly-sliced from the pork belly and fried so crisp it looks like lace. And delicious handmade local breads and cheeses – what a way to start the day.
And the tarts! Pastry so crisp it shatters as you bite into it and the creamy-rich eggy custard just wobbles into your mouth.
Did I mention the platters of gorgeous sliced chocolate and fruit sponges rich with enough egg yolk to stop your heart? There are always three different loaf cakes, based on the deliciously dense Madeira cake. I develop an especially good relationship with the one that is infused with orange and has bits of chopped glacé fruit stirred through it.
What would life be without an egg? It is after all where it all began. But besides that, can you imagine not having mayonnaise; or béarnaise sauce, meringues and lemon curd, choux pastry and hollandaise sauce? The thought of a milk tart without wonderfully fresh free range eggs to make it set, or a crème brulée…Let’s face it, we can’t live without eggs.
Makes 1 cake
- 250g unsalted butter
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs orange zest
- 280g sifted flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbs natural yoghurt or milk
- Juice of 1 large orange
- ¾ cup finely chopped glacé fruit
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare a 30cm x 11cm loaf tin by buttering a piece of greaseproof paper for the base. Butter the sides and dust with flour so the cake doesn’t stick (or you can spray with a non-stick cooking spray), but keep the paper in the base.
Cream the butter and sugar together till it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well incorporated, and stir in the vanilla and orange zest.
Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together and sift it into the butter mixture. Stir the yoghurt and orange juice together, and pour it into the butter mixture, stirring well. Gently mix in the glacé fruit.
Spoon into the buttered loaf tin and bake on the middle shelf for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and after about eight minutes tip the cake out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
I find that Madeira cake tastes better the day after it has been baked, so I generally make it a day before I need it.
Tip: Make sure the butter is at room temperature – it will cream quickly. Lightly flour the glacé fruit so that it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the loaf tin.
© Jenny Morris Taste The World Wit Jenny Morris 2014-2015 All Rights Reserved