Go Back
+ servings
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


  • Large saucepan


  • 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


  • 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.


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.


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!