Menu
Baking / Desserts & Sweets / Gluten Free

Easy Sultana Cake

This Easy Sultana Cake is an old family recipe that has stood the test of time. All the ingredients are added to the one pot and mixed together using only a spoon – a ‘melt and mix’ recipe that is very simple to make. It is buttery and moist right to the edges, studded with plump sultanas and has a beautiful flavour. It is utterly delicious!

The Sultana Cake is cut showing the inside of the cake which is moist and dotted with plump sultanas.
Moist and studded with plump sultanas, this old-fashioned style cake is wonderful!

While this cake can be enjoyed any time of the year if, like me you are not a fan of the heavier darker Christmas fruit cakes, then this is a wonderful alternative. It is one of those cakes that can be enjoyed as it is with a cuppa or served up as a dessert with custard or ice-cream.

This treasured recipe was given to my sister from her mother-in-law, who often made this cake for family gatherings. I have eaten this cake on numerous occasions so when I was hunting for a ‘tried and true’ Sultana Cake recipe, I was delighted when I was given this one to share. This recipe is even more special to us now as my sister’s mother-in-law has since passed away, so every time we make this cake, we are reminded of her. We call this ‘Erin’s Sultana Cake’.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my family does.

The cake is on a square serving plate on a table with cake plates and spoons in the background.

Why I love this cake:

Firstly, it is beautifully moist right to the edges! It also has a chewy golden crust which is wonderful. I love simple cakes like this that can be eaten as is – no toppings or creams required.

It is made from everyday ingredients that you will most likely have in your pantry. Once the sultanas have been boiled and cooled down, all the other ingredients are added to the pot (wet then dry) and mixed together using a large spoon – no mixers or beaters required. A simple cake that delivers on flavour and is very enjoyable to eat.

Looking down onto the cut cake showing the colour and texture of the crumb. It is moist and studded with sultanas.

Ingredients to make this recipe:

  • Sultanas – of course we need sultanas as it’s a ‘Sultana Cake’ 😊. You could however use other dried fruits if you prefer – apricots, cranberries, figs. The sultanas are boiled in water so they become softer and more plump then they are cooled down. To save some time, this step can be done the day before. Then instead of melting the butter into the mixture, melt the butter separately and add, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • Water – the recipe uses 1 cup of water to boil the sultanas. This is what I prefer as I like the true sultana flavour, however you can substitute with orange juice, tea or 50/50 with water and alcohol such as sherry or rum. I’d suggest you try it first with water – I’ve experimented but always return to water.
  • Butter – this gives the cake a beautiful flavour and crumb. Buttery, moist and flavoursome. I use salted butter but unsalted is fine for this too.
  • Sugar – granulated white sugar
  • Flour – plain all purpose flour. You can use plain gluten-free flour for a gluten-free version.
  • Baking Powder
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Eggs – I use large or extra large eggs. Lightly whisk the eggs before adding.

Step by Step Instructions:

  • 1. Grease and line a 20 or 22 cm baking tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 160°C conventional not fan-forced.
  • 2. In a large saucepan, add the sultanas and water and bring to the boil. Boil for 8 minutes or until nearly all the liquid is absorbed (you don’t want any more than a couple of tablespoons left in the bottom). Remove from the heat.
  • 3 and 4. While the mixture is still hot, add the cubes of butter to the pot and stir it through until melted.
  • 5. Add the sugar and stir through well. Set aside for 20 minutes until cooled slightly.
  • 6. Now add the sifted flour and baking powder and mix through using a large spoon.
  • 7. Add the lightly beaten eggs and vanilla extract and mix through until everything is combined and there are no flour pockets left in the mixture.
  • 8. The mixture is now ready.
  • 9. Pour into the prepared baking tin and place into the preheated oven. Bake for 1 hr 10 minutes to 1 hr 25 minutes or until set in the centre and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. You will need to cover the cake loosely with foil when it is golden in colour (around the 35-45 minute mark), otherwise it will be too dark in colour.
  • 10. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
The Sultana Cake is cut showing the inside of the cake which is moist and dotted with plump sultanas.

Tips and Tricks for Success:

This cake is best cooked in a 20 or 22cm baking tin (8 or 8.5 inch).

If you need to cool the mixture down quickly before adding the flour etc, you can add the pot to a sink filled with ice-cubes. Otherwise simply set aside for 20-30 minutes and go off and do something else.

Make sure to cover your cake loosely with a sheet of foil to stop the top getting too dark. Once it becomes a lovely golden colour (usually around the 35-45 minute mark), cover it for the remaining bake time.

This cake will take over an hour to bake – all ovens are different. In my oven it takes 1 hr 10 minutes but please check your bakes as your oven may take slightly less or more time. Cooking this cake at a lower temperature (160 instead of say 180) ensures a more even bake allowing the middle to cook without drying out the sides.

Other recipes for you to try:

Take a look at these other cake recipes that also use sultanas or dates in them.

A close-up of the cut cake showing the moist interior that is studded with sultanas.

Easy Sultana Cake

This Easy Sultana Cake is an old family recipe that has stood the test of time. All the ingredients are added to the one pot and mixed together using only a spoon – a 'melt and mix' recipe that is very simple to make. It is buttery and moist right to the edges, studded with plump sultanas and has a beautiful flavour. It is utterly delicious!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Course: Dessert, Sweet
Cuisine: Australian, English, New Zealand
Keyword: cake, easy cake, fruit cake, moist sultana cake, old fashioned sultana cake, one bowl sultana cake, sultanas
Servings: 12
Calories: 470kcal
Author: Katrina | Katy’s Food Finds

Equipment

  • Large saucepan

Ingredients

  • 400 g sultanas (2 1/2 cups)
  • 250 ml water (1 cup)
  • 250 g butter cut into cubes
  • 385 g sugar (1 3/4 cups)
  • 260 g plain flour (1 3/4 cups) sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F) conventional. Grease and line a 20 or 22cm square cake tin.
  • Place sultanas and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Boil for 8 minutes until sultanas are plump and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Remove from the heat and add the cubes of butter. Stir through until all the butter is melted. Add the sugar and stir in well. Set mixture aside to cool for 20-30 minutes. If you want the mixture to cool quickly, place the base of the saucepan into a sink filled with some iced water.
  • While the mixture is cooling, sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Once the mixture has cooled down, add the sifted flour and baking powder and stir together with a large spoon. Add the lightly beaten eggs and vanilla extract and continue to stir until everything is combined and there are no flour pockets left in the batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin. Bake for 1hr 10 minutes to 1 hr 25 minutes or until the middle is cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. You will need to cover the top of the cake loosely with foil half-way through the baking time once the top is nice and golden (at the 35-45 minute mark), otherwise it will darken too much. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes. Invert onto a wire cooling rack to continue to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, cover the cake with cling wrap and place in an airtight container. Cake will keep for 5 days. This cake can also be frozen for up to 1 month – wrap well in cling film, then wrap again in aluminium foil and place in an airtight container or sealed glad bag and place in the freezer.

Notes

Nutritional Values are per portion based on the cake being cut into 12 pieces.

Ingredients to make this recipe:

  • Sultanas – of course we need sultanas as it’s a ‘Sultana Cake’ 😊. You could however use other dried fruits if you prefer – apricots, cranberries, figs. The sultanas are boiled in water so they become softer and more plump then they are cooled down. To save some time, this step can be done the day before. Then instead of melting the butter into the mixture, melt the butter separately and add, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • Water – the recipe uses 1 cup of water to boil the sultanas. This is what I prefer as I like the true sultana flavour, however you can substitute with orange juice, tea or 50/50 with water and alcohol such as sherry or rum. I’d suggest you try it first with water – I’ve experimented but always return to water.
  • Butter – this gives the cake a beautiful flavour and crumb. Buttery, moist and flavoursome. I use salted butter but unsalted is fine for this too.
  • Sugar – granulated white sugar
  • Flour – plain all purpose flour. You can use plain gluten-free flour for a gluten-free version.
  • Baking Powder
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Eggs – I use large or extra large eggs. Lightly whisk the eggs before adding.

Tips and Tricks for Success:

This cake is best cooked in a 20 or 22cm baking tin (8 or 8.5 inch).
If you need to cool the mixture down quickly before adding the flour etc, you can add the pot to a sink filled with ice-cubes. Otherwise simply set aside for 20-30 minutes and go off and do something else.
Make sure to cover your cake loosely with a sheet of foil to stop the top getting too dark. Once it becomes a lovely golden colour (usually around the 30-40 minute mark), cover it for the remaining bake time.
This cake will take over an hour to bake – all ovens are different. In my oven it takes 1 hr 10 minutes but please check your bakes as your oven may take slightly less or more time. Cooking this cake at a lower temperature (160 instead of say 180) ensures a more even bake allowing the middle to cook without drying out the sides.

Nutrition

Calories: 470kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 206mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg
Have you cooked one of my recipes? I’d love you to tag me @katysfoodfinds or #katysfoodfinds!

2 Comments

  • Kate Yates
    December 23, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    5 stars
    BEST cake EVER !! Ive made it 3 times in a week – so easy and so delicious.
    I’ve made it as per the recipe and I’ve also made it with slightly less sugar and butter and it was still yum ! I actually made it with spelt flour on one occasion as we didn’t have any plain flour – came out great. Very versatile !
    Thanks Katy, another fab recipe !

    Reply
    • Katrina
      December 26, 2021 at 12:49 pm

      That’s so wonderful to hear Kate.Thank you for your lovely feedback. I just love this cake too – so moist. Great to hear that it worked well with spelt flour too. Might have to try that next time.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.