I was well into my twenties before I began to appreciate the quiet simplicity of a really good sultana cake. As a child this cake was 'de rigueur' on family picnics with the old tartan cake tin being produced at the same time as the Thermos of (stewed) tea. We kids were horrified and sure that we'd never enjoy either tea or cake in equal measure. I haven't baked a sultana cake for ages but this week, in a fit of 'using what's in the pantry', I baked one to bring to work as a little mid-afternoon pick-me-up. It has not disappointed. The cake is moist and not too sweet, with a great texture. It's a reasonably sturdy little number, travels well and is a great keeper. And sorry there's no picture, we've been a bit busy so consider it a 'blind challenge!'
Grated zest of one lemon
5mls almond extract (or vanilla)
200g castor sugar
185g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180C (non-fan if possible). Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin (I use a 3inch deep Fat Daddio’s pan which I have greased lightly and lined base and sides with baking parchment).
Place sultanas in a medium sized saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer. Adjust heat to low and leave to simmer gently for 5 minutes. Drain sultanas then return to pan. Add butter and lemon zest and allow butter to melt in residual heat. Once cooled to room temperature add almond (or vanilla) extract.
Place eggs and castor sugar in a bowl large enough to accommodate the whole cake mix. Use a hand mixer or whisk to beat until light and frothy. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix gently to combine. Add the fruit/butter/extract mixture and stir gently to combine.
Place mixture into prepared tin, smooth the top and bake for around 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If you find the top of your cake is becoming overly dark, place a piece of tinfoil over the top to protect it from overbrowning.
Leave to cool in the tin for around 10 minutes then remove from tin and allow to cool to room temp before storing. This is a ‘great keeper’ and it actually improved with a little aging.
- Tags: baking