Light Sultana Cake
Variations of this recipe have been around forever, it is such a wonderful standby fruit cake. I tweaked it to my own tastes many years ago. The fruit is lush and moist after soaking in the tea overnight and it keeps well for at least two weeks in an airtight tin. Well, I have been told it does, but in my house there would be little chance of that happening.
You do need to think ahead and soak your sultanas the day before.
1 lb bag of sultanas [500gr]
HOT black tea
Place the sultanas in a bowl and cover with the hot tea. [this is where I often add a splash of something alcoholic too] Drain before using, if there is any liquid left. There won’t be a lot.
Butter and line an 8” spring form tin and preheat your fan oven to 130C
7 oz softened butter
4 oz caster sugar
4 oz soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste [or extract]
the zest of an orange
10 oz plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon mixed spice [more if you wish]
4 large eggs, beaten
a little milk or buttermilk, if necessary. I used about 2 tablespoons
demerera sugar for sprinkling [turbinado]
Cream the butter and sugars, vanilla and zest until light and fluffy. By hand or in a mixer. You don’t need me to tell you this! Gradually add the beaten eggs, along with a teaspoonful of the flour with each addition. Fold in the dry ingredients and lastly add the sultanas. Mix with a little milk, if too stiff. You need a nice soft dropping consistency.
Tip into your prepared tin, sprinkle over a little demerera and bake for around 2½ hours, until firm to the touch. Cover with some paper or foil for the last hour. I turn down to about 125C then as well.
Cool in the tin for a short time then turn out onto a rack. Best to not cut it until the next day. If you like fruit cakes, I absolutely guarantee you will love it.