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Boiled sultana cake

  • 30 minutes
  • 1¼ hours
  • 1x 20cm cake
Boiled sultana cake

Every 1950s and 1960s community fundraising cookbook had a boiled fruit cake. They are simple and inexpensive to make and pretty fail-proof too. Jazz up this basic recipe with one of the ideas below.


  • 2 cups sultanas
  • 150 grams butter, diced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Grease and line a 20cm deep round cake tin.
  2. Place the sultanas into a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes then drain.
  3. Add the butter to the hot sultanas and stir until melted. Stir in the sugar followed by the beaten eggs. Cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder together and stir into the sultanas. Spoon into the prepared cake tin.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days before cutting.

Cooks Tips

- Add the grated rind of 1-2 oranges. - Use mixed dried fruit or currants or raisins in place of sultanas. - Add ½ cup chopped walnuts to the cake mix or use to decorate the top of the cake before baking. - Use ½ honey and ½ sugar. Or use ¾ cup honey in place of the sugar. - Use dark brown or muscovado sugar in place of white sugar. - Simmer the fruit in ginger beer rather than water. - Add 1-2 teaspoons mixed spice or apple spice mix or cinnamon or nutmeg. - Use half wholemeal flour and half plain flour. - Add ½ cup chocolate chips with the flour.

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