Cherry Madeira Cake

Our cherry madeira cake is a vegan, sugar-free, and fruity spin of the classic English sponge cake. Lightly flavoured with almond and lemon, it's an irresistible treat perfect with a scoop of ice cream or a cup of tea.

Cherry Madeira Cake (Vegan, Sugar-Free)


Nutrition per serving
Net Carbs23.9 g8.7%
of which Sugars5.5 g6.1%
Fibers2.3 g8.1%
Fats8 g12.3%
of which Saturates0.7 g3.3%
of which Omega 30.3 g26.7%
Proteins4 g8.7%
Calcium136 mg13.6%
Vitamin A0 mcg0.1%
Vitamin C4 mg5.1%
Iron1.7 mg11.3%
Potassium167 mg4.8%
Sodium171 mg7.5%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Kcal183 9.2%
Macro split
  • net carbs 63%
  • sugars 14%
  • fats 21%
  • saturates 2%
  • proteins 10%
  • fibers 6%
*RDA based on a 2000 kcal diet;
**Nutritional data sources: USDA, food labels.
183 per serving
1h 10m

If you're looking for a cute and easy cake recipe to go with a cup of tea or a scoop of ice cream, you've come to the right place. In today's recipe, we'll show you how to make cherry madeira cake, a fruity variation of a quintessentially British teatime treat. And as we're at it, we'll give it a vegan and sugar-free spin — Foodaciously-style!

But first, let's learn more about the history behind this famous English dessert. You might wonder why is it called Madeira or if it's a Portuguese cake. Despite its name, this cake actually originated in England in the 18th century, where it was traditionally served with Madeira wine. This wine was a luxury drink at that time, produced on the Portuguese Madeira Islands, and became quite popular in American colonies and Great Britain.

Classic Madeira cake does not contain the eponymous wine or any other liquor, but rather it's comparable to a simple pound cake or sponge cake. It's prepared with plain flour, butter, white sugar, and eggs, pretty much like a Victoria sponge. However, the recipe calls for more flour, about 30% more, which yields a firmer texture. Also, Madeira cake is traditionally flavoured with lemon peel and not vanilla as in a typical pound cake.

The result is a slightly dense cake, yet moist, rich in flavour, and with lovely citrus notes. As many variations also include almonds and fruits, we decided to make our recipe with almond flour plus fresh cherries, which are now in full season here. If you can't find fresh cherries, you can opt for frozen or even glacè cherries. But keep in mind that glacè cherries are candied in sugar syrup, meaning they're very high in sugar.

As promised, we designed our Madeira cake recipe to be vegan, sugar-free, and as healthy as possible. First, we reduced the fats and replaced butter with a little vegetable oil. Then, we used a combo of self-raising flour, vinegar, and baking soda to help leaven the cake without the need for eggs. Finally, we swapped cow milk and refined white sugar with plant-based oat milk and pure maple syrup, which has almost 40% fewer sugars.

All you have to do is mix the ingredients in a bowl and pour the cake batter into a loaf tin or round tin. Garnish it with halved cherries, and there you have it: a gorgeous cherry and almond Madeira cake. Once ready, you can frost it with our sugar-free glaze and sprinkle it with lemon peel, or you can fill it with our egg-free lemon curd. Thanks to its firm texture, Madeira cake is also great for preparing frozen desserts, trifles, and layered cakes. We also love it with a hot cup of tea, British-style, or with a big scoop of ice cream in the summer season!


Measuring System
Almond Milk400 mL
Apple Cider Vinegar20 mL
Self-Raising Flour350 g
Almond Meal120 g
Baking Soda1 tsp
Zested Lemon1
Maple Syrup80 mL
Vegetable Oil (e.v.o. oil or rapeseed oil)50 mL
Lemon Essence1 tsp
Cherries (pitted and halved)200 g

Step 1

Combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl to make vegan buttermilk.

Let the mixture sit undisturbed while you prepare the other cake ingredients.

vegan buttermilk

Step 2

Add self-raising flour, almond meal, baking soda, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt to another bowl and mix well.

vegan madeira cake ingredients

Step 3

Now, incorporate the milk mixture into the flour, followed by maple syrup, vegetable oil, and lemon essence.

Add the ingredients a bit at a time and mix with a hand or electric whisk until they're fully incorporated.

You should have a creamy and smooth cake batter.

At this point, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric to give the batter a lovely yellow colour.

vegan madeira cake batter

Step 4

Then, tip in half of the cherries and stir well.

You can also use frozen cherries. There's no need to thaw them first; you can add them frozen right into the cake batter.

fresh cherries in madeira cake batter

Step 5

Now, take a loaf tin, grease it with oil, and pour the cake batter, filling it at two-thirds.

Then, top the batter with the remaining half of the cherries.

cherry madeira cake batter in a loaf tin

Step 6

Bake the cherry cake at 180°C (355°F) for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Carefully remove the cake from the tin and leave it to cool down completely on a wire rack.

Enjoy a big slice of this cherry and almond cake with a hot cup of herbal tea or a scoop of handmade vegan ice cream.

baked cherry madeira cake


You can swap plain flour with wholewheat flour for a healthier cake, adjusting the liquids if the batter feels too dense.