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Sultana Cake

Nana Ling's Sultana Cake Recipe from 1940 (with a secret step that makes this recipe UNBEATABLE).
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sultana cake

This classic Sultana Cake recipe was recorded by Nana Ling back in 1940. It includes an extra step that most recipes skip – and I reckon this makes Nana Ling’s Sultana Cake better than the rest!

This sweet, simple cake is perfect for afternoon tea or lunch boxes and freezes well.

Read on to learn what you’ll need to make this cake plus what that all-important extra step is.

sultana cake

Nana Ling’s Recipe for Sultana Cake

This recipe was included in Nana Ling‘s handwritten recipe books and is dated 5 April 1940.

I’ve tweaked it ever so slightly, so keep reading through to the recipe card at the bottom of the post to find the updated recipe and step-by-step instructions.

sultana cake recipe

Ingredients for Sultana Cake

This recipe mostly calls for pantry staples. You’ll need:

  • plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • caster sugar (or white/granulated sugar)
  • butter
  • lemon essence (this one may not be in your pantry and isn’t essential, but it does give the cake a nice little boost flavour-wise)
  • vanilla essence
  • baking powder
  • eggs
  • sultanas
  • salt.

You’ll also need a loaf tin (approx 24 x 14 x 7cm).

Keep scrolling to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for precise quantities.

sultana cake ingredients

How to make a Sultana Cake

So we start with Nana Ling’s extra step that most recipes skip.

Measure out the sultanas, place them in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes before draining off water. Set aside.

Yes, that’s the secret to Sultana Cake with the most deliciously moist and plump sultanas. Boiling them first.

Next, pre-heat oven to moderate (170 degrees celsius, fan-forced).

Grease a loaf tin (approx 24 x 14 x 7cm) and line with baking paper.

Now, pull out the stand mixer and beat butter, sugar, essences and salt to a cream. Add beaten eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Sift the flour and baking powder together and gradually fold into mixture or mix on lowest speed of your stand mixer.

Add your lovely plump sultanas to the mixture and stir through gently until evenly distributed through the mixture.

Note that while some recipes require you to coat the sultanas in flour before adding to this mix (to prevent them sinking), this recipe does not. In fact, Nana Ling makes a note that the sultanas “must not be dredged with flour.” And she’s right the sultanas did not sink so there’s no need to coat in flour.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours or until cooked.

how to make sultana cake

You’ll know it’s cooked when it’s a light golden colour. You should also listen to the cake as you take it from the oven. If you can still hear it sizzling then it’s still cooking. Pop it back in the oven for another few minutes.

Leave your cake cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Sultana Cake FAQs

Q. Can I freeze Sultana Cake?

A. Wrap in plastic food wrap and freeze for up to a few months. Thaw sultana cake in the fridge overnight.

Q. What is that extra step in Nana Ling’s recipe that you mentioned above?

A. Boiling the sultanas before adding to the cake batter. See above and the recipe card below for more details.

Q. Where does Sultana Cake come from?

A. It’s thought to be originally a Scottish recipe. Of course, it’s popular in many parts of the world now.

Q. Do you have any other old-fashioned cake recipes?

A. Plenty! See the Cooking with Nana Ling cake collection here.

sultana cake

Sultana Cake

Nana Ling's Sultana Cake Recipe from 1940 (with a secret step that makes this recipe UNBEATABLE).
4.86 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: sultana cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 263kcal

Equipment

  • loaf tin (approx 24 x 14 x 7cm)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup caster sugar (or white/granulated sugar)
  • 225 grams butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon essence
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sultanas
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  • Put sultanas in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes before draining off water. Set aside.
    boiling sultanas
  • Pre-heat oven to moderate (170 degrees celsius, fan-forced).
  • Grease a loaf tin (approx 24 x 14 x 7cm) and line with baking paper.
  • Beat butter, sugar, essences and salt to a cream.
    cream butter sugar sultana cake
  • Add beaten eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Sift flour and baking powder together and gradually fold into mixture or mix on lowest speed of your stand mixer.
    adding flour to sultana cake mix
  • Add sultanas to the mixture and stir through gently until evenly distributed through the mixture.
    mixing in sultanas
  • Pour mixture into prepare loaf tin and bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours or until cooked.
    sultana cake batter
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 411IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
Recipe Rating




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Veronica Millar

Friday 18th of March 2022

It look yummy my granddaughter wants to be a chef so we will make it when she come down today Thank you so much

Libby Hakim

Friday 18th of March 2022

How lovely! Happy cooking with your granddaughter 💕

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