05 Jun Sultana Loaf Cake

Recipes, Sweet

Sultana Loaf Cake

5 June 2021

PREP TIME: Soak sultanas Overnight - Cook Time: 1 hour -   Serves: 6

This classic loaf cake is perfect for picnics, road trips, lunch boxes or cups of tea - any time of day or night.  A Delia Smith classic I believe and simple enough for a competent child to make.

Even without any fat, the high fruit content here makes for a very moist cake.

The original recipe called for just 1 large egg - I needed to add an extra one to be able to work the mixture.  You could moisten further with a tablespoon or two of cold tea.  Be mindful though that the mixture is meant to be quite firm and spooned, not poured from the bowl.

Recipe Template


175 ml cold tea

225 g sultanas

225 g whole wheat or self raising flour

175 g demerara sugar

2 eggs

Pinch of salt

Butter and flour for greasing the tin


Large mixing bowl

Digital scales

Measuring jug

Small bowl and a fork

Wooden spoon


1 litre loaf tin

1 foil butter wrapper or piece of baking paper

Wire cake rack


Step 1 Prep - the day before

Place the sultanas in a large mixing bowl, cover with the tea and leave to hydrate overnight or for a minimum of 5 hours.

Step 2 Prep - on the day

Preheat the oven to 180c - at least 20 minutes before baking

Grease the baking tin well with butter, sprinkle flour over the butter and shake the excess out.

Beat the eggs in the smaller bowl.

Step 3 Make the mixture

The sultanas should be large, plump and juicy after soaking.

Stir the flour, salt and sugar into the mixture of sultanas and tea. 

Stir in the beaten eggs.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, and spread it out evenly.

Step 4 Bake

Place the cake in the middle shelf of the oven and cook for about an hour.

You may like to set your buzzer for 20 minutes or so first - just to check that the cake is not browning too quickly.

If the cake is  very coloured - simply cover it with a sheet of butter foil  or baking paper to finish cooking.

The cake is ready when a knife inserted into the centre comes away clean.

Leave the cooked cake in the tin and place on a wire rack for about 10 - 15 minutes before turning it out.

Allow to cool.

Step 5  To Serve

Serve slices spread with butter.

If you can wait - the cake is infinitely better after a day or two.

Step 6 To Store

Cool and store in a cake tin or wrap in baking paper and foil, until needed.

I like to store the cake in the fridge.


Recipe adapted by Elizabeth Peddey  from Delia Smith's Book of Cakes (1977), p.54

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