Sultana Cake

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Sultana Cake recipe from Baking with Granny. The perfect teatime cake.

Sometimes it’s the most simple of cakes that has the biggest impact. And this delicious Sultana Cake is definitely one of those. Best enjoyed with a cup of tea and good company!

When it comes to being in the mood for baking, there’s nothing worse than going to your cupboards to find you’re missing ingredients for that recipe which you’ve been eyeing up for days.

That’s where this super simple and super tasty Sultana Cake comes to the rescue. All it requires is the most basic of ingredients which I can guarantee you’ll have lurking in your cupboards, just waiting to be baked into a tasty little cake.

It’s also a wonderful recipe to try with kids. The boys love nothing more than whipping together a loaf cake and although Banana Loaf is their most favourite, Sultana Cake comes in at a close second.

"Lovely cake. It was requested again by my family. That’s the signal of a good cake!"

And like all the best cake recipes, this Sultana Cake is super versatile. Low on Sultanas? Why not mix it up a bit with whatever else you have – cranberries, raisins, nuts or chocolate chips… Whatever you please!


Margarine or Butter
Either will do and it’s personal preference to which you choose. I opt for margarine as a way to omit the dairy but whatever you choose, just be sure it’s at room temperature before baking.

Caster Sugar
A cake isn’t a cake without a bit of sweetness. Caster sugar is by far the best sugar for a cake but you could try Golden Caster Sugar for a more caramel-y taste.

Free-range Eggs
The traditional glue of choice in any cake batter. I don’t tend to stress to much about the size of eggs in a loaf cake, as long as they’re free-range.

Self-raising Flour
As with most cake, self-raising flour is required. But if you only have plain to hand, fear not! You can use a plain flour with the addition of some baking powder.

Lemon Extract
Technically an optional ingredient but one I would always recommend. The lemon extract adds a bit more depth to this somewhat simple loaf cake and it compliments the sultanas perfectly.

What’s a sultana cake without sultanas? You can of course substitute these with some dried fruits if you feel like experimenting.

Sultana Cake recipe from Baking with Granny. The perfect teatime cake.
Sultana Cake recipe from Baking with Granny. The perfect teatime cake.

Sultana Cake

A real teatime classic. Sultana Cake is super simple to make and perfect when enjoyed alongside a cuppa.
4.67 from 42 votes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour



  • Pre-heat your oven to 170°c (150°c for fan assisted oven or Gas Mark 4) and line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the margarine/butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at time, ensuring they are mixed through before adding the next. Add the lemon extract.
  • Sift in the flour and gently fold to create a batter. Add the sultanas and mix to ensure they are evenly distributed.
  • Transfer the batter to your pre-lined tin and bake in your pre-heated oven for about one hour until risen, golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Sultana Cake recipe from Baking with Granny. The perfect teatime cake.

106 Responses

    1. I baked mine for 42 mins on 150 fan and thought I’d check it with the was perfect and a great hit. I actually doubled thecrecipe and made 2 cakes.

      1. My cake tasted nice but I split a 2lb cake mixture into two 1lb tins and it came out small – one and a half inches Hugh with a dome and a crack. The crack didn’t bother me it’s the height. Why? I baked it on 150c and it wasn’t really brown after one hour.

        Where did I go wrong?

      2. Sultana bun! This was one of my least favourite cakes my mum made when I was a little girl, and one of my absolute favourites as an adult. Thank you so much for the recipe, I can’t wait to try it.

      3. I cooked mine for one hour as recipe suggested but was over cooked. Very nice cake but does not need one hour. Will try 42 m8 s as you did next time.

  1. This is a brilliant recipe. So easy to make with ingredients that are to hand.
    Simply delicious. Thank you for sharing it.

      1. I made enough for two cakes done one in a loaf tin and one in a round tin both came out fine I anything the round one looked slightly better

    1. You would need to use baking powder with plain flour, and not bicarb soda. Two different ingredients with different jobs. Not the same thing at all.

    1. Cake perfect as described. I used 2 large eggs and 2 tablespoons of milk because the mix looked a bit stiff. I used spreadable butter and baked for 1 hour at 150c fan oven, shelf 2. I also dusted the sultanas with some of the measured flour, mixed it together in a Thermomix for 20 secs on speed 41/2, then added the fruit

      1. 5 stars
        A wonderful cake that all my neighbours want the recipe for. I used 3 large eggs as we only have local free range so are always quite large. Baked for 1hr on exactly 150 fan and it was moist with a perfect soft texture.

  2. 5 stars
    So easy and so yummy. I substituted butter for the margarine.
    Took it to feed the masses at work and got 5 out of 5s.
    PS I cooked it for exactly an hour!

  3. 5 stars
    Mine came out looking exactly like the picture! Cooked in halogen for exactly a hour on 140 and it looks perfect

    1. How do you like cooking with halogen. I have no idea what that is.
      I have just found this site and I love it. Regards Peter

  4. Brilliant cake. Had a glut of eggs and didn’t want to waste them during the corona lock down so decided to bake. Looks exactly like the picture.

  5. 5 stars
    Just to show how good this recipe is, I have never baked before in my life and I needed something while on lockdown. It came out absolutely perfect, it was supposed to last the family 2 days. No chance! I have another one in the oven now. More of these super simple recipes please, ie, devoid of ‘Nip to the pantry and get a quart of Lebanese Gecko extract’ and so on. Super simple; brilliant cake.

    1. 5 stars
      Same for me John, first time baking ever as a lockdown project. Came out perfect, moist and delicious. Easy recipe, beautiful cake.

  6. 5 stars
    My son made this(11) so simple and tasty. Added the lemon and it is amazing , baked for 55 mins. So lush warm..

  7. My third time of making this. The lemon extract does give that special lift to the recipe. I love it and during lockdown is the perfect pick me up. I wait till it has cooled (well, I eat a bit first of course), then slice and freeze. I love fruit cake of all kinds, sultanas in particular though ai added some chopped apricots as well the second time, and this is quick, easy and delicious.

  8. 5 stars
    After making one the other day I wanted to try someone else’s recipe, oh my days it’s fantastic, thank you. I even added a bit more lemon flavouring as I love all things lemon. Thanks for sharing. Perfect l.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this for my granny and grandad and they adored it – thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe!

  10. Mine sunk in the middle but was perfect when it came out. Baked it for 1 hr as said, its still wet at the bottom

  11. Fan oven set at 150 degrees, tested at 60 minutes came out with raw cake mix left on skewer, tested again 5 minutes later skewer still not clean, finally clean at 70 minutes. Just cut into the cake and it’s dry!!?? Nice flavour though so will try again but will add lemon drizzle icing to the warm just out of the oven-cake next time.

      1. 4 stars
        When I make fruit cake I soak the fruit in tea for 30 minutes then drain it . I find it makes the cake a bit moister

  12. 5 stars
    Just took mine out the oven, baked it for 1hr on 150 fan but as I only had large eggs gave it an extra 10 minutes at 130 fan as it wasn’t quite done in the middle but it came out just perfect

  13. I agree, the batter felt very dry – I added 2 tablespoons of milk, and it came out perfectly and barely lasted the day!!

  14. 5 stars
    Delicious cake, i followed the recipe – time, temp, etc and it was perfectly cooked. Some of the fruit sunk to the bottom but i forgot that if you coat the fruit in little flour it wont sink. I used Vanilla extract as i didnt have lemon. Light, moist, yea 4 star.

  15. 5 stars
    I stumbled across this recipe whilst checking out your other rock buns recipe. The Sultana loaf reminds me of something my Grandma used to bake every week.
    I’m looking forward to trying this. I love anything with dried fruit in it.
    Thanks for sharing x

  16. 5 stars
    Just right for us. Timinng, texture and taste. Made it last night but only enough left for the two of us to have a slice each with our coffee tomorrow morning.
    When I make the next one, I thought I’d try glace cherries instead of sultanas and replace the lemon extract with vanilla extract.

  17. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. Father in law described s. Cake – when I omitted lemon essence – as sublime, so definitely a win : )
    Last time, I used approx 1/8 t of lemon essence and some grated zest… family members were arguing about the ‘takeaway ‘ cake.
    Thanks so much! It’s a family favourite and reminds me of my mother’s sultana cake c. 1970s too : )

  18. 5 stars
    I haven’t baked for years and made this Sultana Loaf last week. I had to add another 10 minutes onto baking time but the result was perfect.
    I felt like a professional Baker. My Dad who doesn’t enthuse over anything absolutely loved it. He even asked for me to make it again. Such praise is praise indeed!.
    I’m trying out the Flies Graveyard recipe next.
    Thank you so much.

  19. 5 stars
    I am a man in my 50s learning to bake cakes for the first time in my life, this has been the most successful so far! Thanks for this great recipe, it tasted great!

  20. Followed the recipe to the letter and it tasted very dry why was this please. I know this loaf cake has more flour to margarine and sugar and it’s more of a dense cake mixture to a Victoria sponge!!!

  21. 5 stars
    I ‘ve been baking this cake for a while now, and it comes out perfect every time. The only thing I changed is, I use a sugar substitute, and only use as little as possible.

  22. 5 stars
    Tastes great. Very easy. Added a cap of vanilla essence and a few drops of fresh lemon.

    Baked at 150 for 45 mins and it came out perfectly.

  23. Made this for my grandad for his birthday, swapped the sultanas for currants and it worked perfectly. Everyone enjoyed it and said how gorgeous it was. Will definitely be making this recipe again :)

  24. Ive never had the confidence to bake, in my fifties, but decided to try this, used mixed fruit, plain flour, baking powder, round tin, 170 fan for an hour. Turned out lovely. So easy to do, will be making it again.

      1. If your mixture was quite stiff it will end up being quite dry and dense, for whatever reason these types of cakes do this. I made a german fruit cake a while back and it was exactly the same.

        For this recipe I added an extra egg and a dash of milk, it definitely needs it

  25. 3 stars
    We used this recipe twice to make sure instructions were followed correctly.
    Both cakes were nice tasting but dry.
    Other recipes include milk.
    Would this make the cake more moist?

    1. 4 stars
      using milk may make the cake a little more moist and soft as would adding another egg yolk to the mix but I think I’d try soaking the fruit overnight in cold tea. Perhaps some dried fruit is dryer and that’s why only some are commenting that the cake is dry.

    2. 4 stars
      using milk may make the cake a little more moist and soft as would adding another egg yolk to the mix but I think I’d try soaking the fruit overnight in cold tea. Perhaps some dried fruit is dryer and that’s why only some are commenting that the cake is dry.

  26. I used the juice of half a lemon and 20 grams extra sultanas, baked for 60 minutes, l did find the sultanas did not go evenly through the cake although l mixed it well.

  27. 5 stars
    Works really well as a vegan cake. I used a plant based butter and flaxseed “eggs” (1 tbsp flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp hot water = 1 egg). Not all cake recipes convert well to vegan, but this one really does. Delicious!

  28. My Irish granny made this cake regularly over 60 years ago. We ate it sliced and spread with butter, for afternoon tea. When I asked her for her recipe she listed a ‘rummel’ of flour and a ‘gopin’ of sugar. I’ve never heard these terms used by anyone else but she meant a big handful or a small handful. She was a fabulous baker and never measured anything. This cake was to’die for’.

  29. 5 stars
    Lovely cake and easy to make. I soak the sultanas in the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon for 10 minutes or so before adding to the mix.

  30. 5 stars
    Absolutely perfect every time. I’m a novice baker and even I can get this right! Perfectly sweet, lovely golden colour. My favourite recipe!

  31. 5 stars
    Having made the banana cake many times with 100% success I tried this one and although tasty, it was a little dry. I also had to add an extra 10 mins to the baking time at 150C fan. The comments from this thread have been very helpful (adding extra milk/egg if the batter is too stiff, dusting the sultanas with flour to prevent them sinking) as at 66 years old, I too am a novice baker. I love this site. Thank you for sharing your simple, tasty recipes.

  32. 5 stars
    Easy and tasty!
    How do you keep the sultanas from sinking? I had cake on a bed of sultanas!
    Maybe because I used gf flour?
    I’m going to make it again with blueberries!
    Thanks for posting recipe, your banana bread is fab too!

    1. The mixture for this recipe is quite stiff, and that should help stop fruit sinking. Many people add milk to make the sponge less dense. Either way, here are my tips for success:
      1) Beat the eggs/sugar/butter but when you get to the flour stage, mix it with a large spoon, and do not over mix it.
      2) If your fruit/currants are hard dried, soak them in hot water. Dry them out using paper towels. Douse them in plain flour. Sift off the excess. Fold into the mixture.
      As long as your mixture isn’t too runny, the currants will be fine.

  33. just made this for the third time ive beaten my butter well and then added sugar etcetc first class result again ,drizzled with lemon juice cool

  34. 5 stars
    Made mine yesterday came out perfectly,
    Brought back memories of days gone when my mother and wife
    Would bake an identical one.
    Absolutely love it.

  35. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe… I made some tiny changes after my first attempt. I soaked the sultanas and switched lemon juice for almond extract. And I baked it my Ninja! Xx

  36. Well, Granny must have had a laugh at my efforts. I followed everything precisely, measured and weighed although arthritic shoulders meant that I had to use a mixer.

    I could barely coax the mixture from the bowl – it was like a hostage negotiation and it didn’t want to know. I added a tiny bit of milk to soften it up but still loads of resistance. Once loaded into the tin, it sat there looking at me, refusing to mould itself to the tin so I went in with the wooden spoon and a heated battle ensured until I managed to push, pull, jab and stab the viscous mass into shape.

    It clung to the spoon for a while but the kitchen is safe and the efforts are glowering at me from the oven – hopefully the next sixty minutes will mellow it out and my wading in with a knife (yes I’m adventurous) will serve it right for crossing me. Unless, of course, it has the last laugh and is solid as a rock – we’ll see.

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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