Thursday, 24 November 2011

My Mum, Irene's Sultana Cake

Yesterday, I made a sultana cake, following the recipe of my Mum's that I've used ever since I left home.  My Mum's sultana cake was famous in our family, she used to make quite a few, sometimes to give to friends and relatives or perhaps for her church sale but mostly she made it for my Dad as it was his favourite cake.  Always made at Christmas, you couldn't have a cup of tea or coffee in Mum's house around Christmas or Hogmanay without getting a piece of her wonderful sultana cake, so buttery and delicious, I had cousins who used to drop by specifically to get a piece of cake and perhaps be sent home with some wrapped in foil!

The last time my Mum made this cake was January 2nd 2009, I had just arrived at  my childhood home in Glasgow as my father had been admitted to hospital with pneumonia over Christmas.  I had driven for 4 hours  to stay with Mum and visit him.  As I walked in the door the wonderful smell of sultana cake greeted me like a blast from my childhood.  Mum was going to take some into hospital for Dad as she had been worrying that he wasn't eating enough.  She had struggled making the cake she said, the fingers on her left hands were stiff and not working properly - she mentioned going to see her doctor as she thought she perhaps had a trapped nerve or maybe her osteoarthitis was playing up.  That was the last sultana cake she ever made, she was admitted to hospital four weeks later with a suspected stroke but sadly diagnosed with an incurable Glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour.  She passed away in December 2009 before the next Christmas.

Like my Mum, I too have always made sultana cake every Christmas, I make a proper full-on Christmas fruit cake every year as well, as that is my husbands favourite, but for me nothing beats a piece of Mum's cake.  I decided to blog this as a small tribute to my Mum whom I miss terribly - she was the most generous, loving and caring women ever and I think she would approve of me sharing her recipe and the love that went with her cake.

Irene's Sultana Cake
Ingredients ready!

1lb Plain Flour
10oz Caster Sugar
1tsp baking powder
12oz Butter (softened)
12oz Sultanas
4 eggs
1 or 2 tbs milk

Grease and line a 8" diameter round cake tin, mine is
3" deep.  Mum used to line hers with brown paper
too - but I don't bother.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

a LOT of butter - not for the faint hearted!

Cream butter and sugar

Add the eggs to the creamed mixture one at a time, beat in well (I add a tablespoon of flour between eggs to prevent curdling).

Add eggs - one at a time

Now add the flour and baking powder

Once the eggs are mixed through, add the flour and baking powder (I always sift mine together first).

Now fold in the sultanas, adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk to the mixture depending on how moist the batter is.  It should be nice and firm but not dry.

Sultana's in

Spoon into tin

Spoon into your prepared cake tin, smooth out the top and then use the back of a spoon to make a small well in the middle of the mix (this stops the cake over rising and splitting at the top).

Into trivet

then into Aga Cake Baker - and into the top oven

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1 - 1.5 hours depending on your oven.  My Mum used to put the cake in an oven at 200oC for the first hour, then lower the temperature to 170oC and continue to cook for another 40/50 minutes.

Just out the Aga

Yum - Mum would be proud

The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean, remove from tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.  This cake freezes beautifully too, perfect for stocking up before the festive season.

I have a 2-oven traditional Aga, I use the Aga cake baker, which preheats on the floor of the roasting oven while I'm making the cake.  Then the cake is put in the trivet and placed in the cakebaker, lid on top and then baked in that oven for 1 - 1.5 hours.  I always check my cake after about an hour, if my Aga is hot in the morning I find the cake only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes.

For my darling Mum, Irene - love you Mum and miss you so much x


  1. what a lovely thing to do to honour your mum, the cake sounds delicious and your mum would be proud of you im sure.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Cake was amazing, Mum would have loved the thought of me sharing it, she was such a generous person. Thanks for your comment.