I have become less impulsive in grocery shopping. But, I used to be a marketer’s dream. Whenever something was on special, I thought it was a good idea to buy it, just in case I need it next week, next month or next year. And, that is exactly why I had to make this sultana cake. I had a pack of sultanas which I bought months ago on a discount and were expiring soon.
I am glad I had to make this sultana cake, though. It was a hit among kids and adult alike. It is easy to make and great for sharing. Cooking the sultanas with the orange juice rendered the sultanas plump and juicy. Generous amount of butter did not hurt its yumminess too.
While I did try to use healthier ingredients (using wholemeal rather than white flour) and reducing the amount of sugar, I will not boast about the nutritional prowess of this cake. It is fairly calorie-dense and high in sugar albeit the natural kinds from the sultanas and orange juice. But, homemade sultana cake is certainly a bit healthier for little kids than store-bought iced cupcakes. Since occasional treat is an important part of a healthy diet, a square or two of delicious sultana cake from time to time should be alright.
Sultana Cake/Tray Bake
Adapted from a recipe in ‘Healthy Lunchboxes for Kids’ by Amanda Clark (2008)
Makes about 24 squares
450 g/1 lb sultanas
±275 mL orange juice (use 260 ml/ if using white self-raising flour)
250 g/9 oz unsalted butter
300 g/10.6 oz (350g in original recipe) brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
350 g/12.3 oz wholemeal self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Icing sugar to dust, optional
30 x 20 cm roasting tin (I used a brownie pan), lined with baking paper
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas 3.
Put the sultanas in a saucepan and cover with orange juice. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat slightly and cook for 15 minutes, or until all the juice has been absorbed by the sultanas.
Add butter to the sultanas and stir gently until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat.
Mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Add the sultanas, flour and baking powder to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour into the pan.
Bake for about 1 hour. Check the cake after 40 minutes. If it is a little too brown, cover with baking paper to stop it from getting too brown.
Leave the cake in the pan for 5 minutes. Cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar.