Australian/ Baking/ Dessert/ Recipes

Nan’s Sultana Cake – Easy Fruit Loaf Recipe

17/07/2023

Get baking with Nan’s never fail sultana cake! This classic one bowl recipe creates a moist and irresistible fruit loaf, for a simple afternoon tea treat.

A loaf of sultana cake sits on a white plate with a slice cut off.

Why We Love This

There’s nothing better than being able to whip up a simple cake when you get that sweet craving mid-afternoon! With only 5 minutes prep, there’s hardly any hands on work necessary.

Sultana cake is a super kid friendly recipe – Sarah should know as she used to make it with her Nan growing up!

It also uses easy pantry staples but is super adaptable to use up other types of dried fruits or even leftover apples.

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Related: Weetbix Date Loaf / Easy Carrot Cake Slice / Lemon Polenta Cake

Sultana cake showing the loaf sliced to early when it's crumbly.

What is Sultana Cake? 

Sultana cake, also known as fruit loaf, is a popular light afternoon tea cake. It’s popular in countries with British influence such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Scotland – as well as England of course!

You’ll most often find it fresh baked at home, although it can also be found in supermarkets and bakeries.

What You’ll Need

  • Sultanas – While sultanas are most traditional, you can easily swap out the sultanas for raisins, craisins (dried cranberries), currents – or a dried fruit mix. It’s up to you!
  • Flour – Self raising flour makes this recipe nice and quick. If using all purpose flour, add in 3 tsp of baking powder as well.
  • Butter – We use salted butter as the hint of salt really brings out the sweetness in the cake. Unsalted butter is also fine (you can add a pinch of salt to balance it out if you like).
  • Eggs – We love to use extra large free range eggs which are around 59g each.
  • Sugar – Caster sugar works best here. You can also use plain white sugar, or for a more caramelised result, swap it for brown sugar.
  • Milk – We use full cream milk, however you can swap for skim milk, or coconut milk / soy milk / oat milk for a dairy free version. 
  • Vanilla Essence – This adds an extra layer of deliciousness to the cake. Leave it our, or sub with almond essence if you like!
Ingredients laid out ready to make sultana cake.

How to Make Nan’s Sultana Cake

First, gather your ingredients: See recipe card below for measurements.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C / 320°F. Mix the white sugar and butter first until lightly creamed with a wooden spoon or beaters.
  2. Add in the vanilla essence and eggs, then stir together until combined.
  3. Add half the flour, fold through the cake batter, then pour and fold in the remaining flour.
  4. Do the same with the milk next. Pour in half, mix through, then half again and combine until smooth.
  1. In a small bowl add 1 tsp flour to sultanas to stop them sinking.
  2. Then add sultanas to the cake mix and lightly fold through.
  3. Pour batter into a lined loaf tin and place into the oven to bake for around 45 mins – 1 houror until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the tin for 5 – 10 minutes before removing and slicing for the best presentation. Otherwise, cake may be too crumbly when hot, patience is key! (It’ll still taste fine if you’re impatient though.)

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Storage – Best enjoyed within 2-3 days. You can also freeze this cake in slices (stored in an airtight container) for an easy lunchbox treat later on. Allow to thaw naturally or pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds for a speedy thaw. Use up frozen sultana cake within 2-3 months.
  • Plump your Sultanas – Want extra juicy, plump sultanas? You can soak them in a cup of warm water or tea for 5-10 minutes, then drain and pat dry on a paper towel and proceed with the recipe as usual.

FAQs

How can I stop the sultanas sinking to the bottom?

Easy! Just dust them in a little flour before folding them through the batter. This will help them stay in place as the batter cooks.

What’s the best baking tin to use?

We love using our loaf tin for a nice quick baking time and easy, neat slices. You can always bake it in a round baking tin if that’s all you have. Avoid glass dishes if you can – they can make it take much longer for the cake batter to fully cook through.

Variations

  • Add Apple – Apple pairs perfectly with sultanas. You can add 1 apple sliced or chopped when you pop in the sultanas.
  • Add Banana – There’s always a banana in the kitchen waiting to be used up! So mash it and add it to the cake mix just before you pour it in the tin.
  • Top with Icing – Either a simple vanilla icing or lemon frosting would add extra sweetness and fun. For an even easier option, simply dust with icing sugar. 
  • Add Texture – Add half a cup of crushed nuts through the batter, such as walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts.
A slice of sultana cake, dotted with plump sultanas throughout.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

A golden loaf of sultana cake with the perfect crumb.

Nan’s Sultana Cake – Easy Fruit Loaf Recipe

Get baking with Nan’s never fail sultana cake! This classic one bowl recipe creates a moist and irresistible fruit loaf, for a simple afternoon tea treat.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: Australian, Scottish
Servings: 10 Slices
Calories: 306kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 160°C / 320°F.
  • Mix the white sugar and butter first until lightly creamed with a wooden spoon or beaters. Add in the vanilla essence and eggs, then stir together until combined.
    190 g white sugar, 80 g butter, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Add half the flour, fold through the cake batter, then pour and fold in the remaining flour.
    300 g self raising flour
  • Do the same with the milk next. Pour in half, mix through, then half again and combine until smooth.
    1 cup milk
  • In a small bowl add 1 tsp flour to sultanas to stop them sinking. Then add sultanas to the cake mix and lightly fold through.
    130 g sultanas
  • Pour batter into a lined loaf tin and place into the oven to bake for around 45 mins – 1 hour, or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool slightly in the tin for 5 – 10 minutes before removing and slicing for the best presentation. Otherwise, cake may be too crumbly when hot, patience is key! (It’ll still taste fine if you’re impatient though.)

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Storage – Best enjoyed within 2-3 days. You can also freeze this cake in slices (stored in an airtight container) for an easy lunchbox treat later on. Allow to thaw naturally or pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds for a speedy thaw. Use up frozen sultana cake within 2-3 months.
  • Plump your Sultanas – Want extra juicy, plump sultanas? You can soak them in a cup of warm water or tea for 5-10 minutes, then drain and pat dry on a paper towel and proceed with the recipe as usual.
  • Add Apple – Apple pairs perfectly with sultanas. You can add 1 apple sliced or chopped when you pop in the sultanas.
  • Add Banana – There’s always a banana in the kitchen waiting to be used up! So mash it and add it to the cake mix just before you pour it in the tin.
  • Top with Icing – Either a simple vanilla icing or lemon frosting would add extra sweetness and fun. For an even easier option, simply dust with icing sugar. 
  • Add Texture – Add half a cup of crushed nuts through the batter, such as walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Nan’s Sultana Cake – Easy Fruit Loaf Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
306
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
9
g
14
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
0.3
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Cholesterol
 
53
mg
18
%
Sodium
 
76
mg
3
%
Potassium
 
179
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
52
g
17
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
28
g
31
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
288
IU
6
%
Vitamin C
 
0.4
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
48
mg
5
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks

Nan’s Sultana Cake - Easy Fruit Loaf Recipe

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