Tales of Woe ~ that Madeira Tart

Tales of Woe ~ that Madeira Tart

I’ve always wanted to make a Bakewell Tart. But, with our particular allergy set, ground almonds in anything is just asking for trouble.  Back around the first of February, I came across this recipe for Irish Bakewell Buns. The ingenious thing is – unlike a traditional Bakewell Tart,  she didn’t use ground almonds… she used a Madeira sponge for the topping.

Okay..fine.. I skimmed the recipe – saw the word Madeira – and my monkey brain said, “How cool! Madeira wine instead of almonds! … just the thing to give that nutty, rich flavor without dealing with the consequences of tree nuts.”


If you’re from the UK – you already know where this is headed… feel free to bury your face in your hands.

Anyway… I ran out and scoured the mountainside for Madeira to make those lovely buns. It wasn’t easy… it took me nearly 3 weeks to locate a bottle.  It appears Madeira isn’t terribly popular up here in the hills.


Then, it was time to make the buns….

The thing is… Madeira Sponge Cake isn’t a cake with Madeira in it. It’s just a name…. like Victoria Sponge …or Lemon Sponge.   Madeira was just a different type of eggy sponge cake that used to be served with – yes, Madeira.

(but… I could have sworn I saw 6 Tablespoons Madeira  in the recipe….)

Not one to be beaten away from any task – I decided to do it my way… and make a Madeira Sponge…with actual Madeira Wine. So, my apologies to Janine at Cooking With Craic for desecrating her recipe… but, I think mine are pretty damned good, too. The Madeira isn’t overly heavy; you get hits of fruity nuttiness and a hint of boozy cake. It’s just the perfect snack cake / tart / pie thing to go with a steaming hot cuppa joe.

Madeira Bakewell Bun

For the Cake:

  • 3/4 Cup Softened Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs – Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons Madeira

For The Filling:

  • 1/2 Cup Blueberry Preserves
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 3 Tablespoons Madeira

For the Crust:

  • Use 2 Store Bought Pastry Crust Sheets – or use our short crust from HERE

Tools of the Trade:

  • 1 Large 6-Hole Muffin Tin
  • Stand Mixer with Paddle
  • Spatulas
  • Small Sauce Pan
  • Cooling Rack
  • Butter for Greasing the Tins
  • Large Cookie Cutter – I used the top of those Round ZipLock Storage containers
  • Powdered Sugar for Dusting
  1. In the sauce pan, bring the preserves and fruit to a light boil.
  2. Add the Madeira and continue to bubble for 3 minutes (or until the berries have broken)
  3. Set off the heat and allow to cool and thicken
  4. Preheat the oven to 335 Degrees
  5. Grease the muffin tin
  6. Roll out the dough to 1/8″ thickness.
  7. Cut round of pastry dough big enough to cover the bottom and wrap half way up the sides of the tin. Set Aside
  8. In the mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
  9. One at a time, add the eggs – beating at medium speed until each are fully incorporated.
  10. Continue beating for 5 minutes.
  11. Gradually add the flour and baking powder and beat just long enough to mix well.
  12. Add the vanilla, milk and Madeira and mix another 30 seconds – Set Aside
  13. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the fruit mixture into the bottom of each tin.
  14. Divide the batter evenly and top each tart with batter. (It will be about 1/3 cup of batter for each)
  15. Bake at 335 for 45 minutes. Test with a pick, when pushed in the center of the bun, it should be clean.
  16. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan
  17. Run a knife lightly around the edge of the bun to loosen. Placing the rack over the tops of the tarts, invert the tin and juggle a bit.
  18. Allow the buns to cool to room temperature, then dust with powdered sugar

Based on “Irish Bakewell Buns” from Cooking with Craic


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