Golden Raisin, White Chocolate & Madeira Cake

Christmas cake: some love it (its cake so what’s not to like?) but some people hate fruit cake of any kind.  This light cake might just change their minds about fruit cakes; it has just enough raisins to add texture and a subtle flavour.

I have made this cake with both Madeira and Sherry, but Brandy or Cointreau would also be delicious or use orange juice for an alcohol free version.  Place the raisins & Madeira in a clean jar, cover, and let them soak (overnight at the least, though I soak them for a week, turning them from day to day so they soak up the alcohol evenly). If pressed for time, a quick nuke in the microwave will do the same trick.

This moist cake keeps extremely well and is great with a hot cup of tea or coffee or served with ice-cream as a dessert.

Golden Raisin, White Chocolate & Madeira Cake


  • 150 g (1 cup) golden raisins
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) Madeira
  • 340 g (2 ¼) cups flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 60 g (½ cup) ground almonds
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 120 g white chocolate
  • 200 g (1 cup) brown sugar
  • 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 250 g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • Icing sugar
  • Extra white chocolate for decorating


  • Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Grease & line a 25 cm round loose-bottom cake tin
  • Soak raisins in Madeira (covered) overnight (or for several days) or combine and microwave for 30 seconds and set aside.
  • Sift flour and baking powder together then stir in the ground almonds.
  • Combine milk and lemon juice and set aside to thicken.
  • Break white chocolate into pieces then p in a heat proof bowl over a second bowl of hot water to melt. Stir as the chocolate softens until it is smooth and creamy. Set aside to cool.
  • Soften butter then beat with both sugars until light and creamy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Beat in melted chocolate
  • Strain the raisins and add the strained Madeira to the milk mixture.
  • Toss raisins in ¼ cup of the dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Combine all the remaining ingredients except the raisins to the creamed butter mixture by beating in half the dry then half the wet and repeating until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Fold the floured raisins into the cake batter then spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
  • Bake 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean of cake mixture. Place a piece of tin-foil over the cake to prevent the top from browning too much before the centre is cooked through.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 10-15 minutes in the tin before removing the side of the tin & transferring to a cake rack to cool. Once completely cool, remove the base of the cake tin & the baking paper and place the cake on a cake plate or transfer to an airtight container for keeping.
  • This cake is moist and rich enough to not need any ganache icing though if that’s what you like then go right ahead. Otherwise simply dust cold cake with icing sugar just prior to serving and decorate with snowflakes & other Christmas decorations made with extra melted white chocolate.
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