Sultana Raisin Cake

It's that time of the year again--Christmas Baking Time.  This lovely, moist Sultana Raisin Cake, made with brown sugar, has distinct, rich undertones of sweet butterscotch.  Unlike many raisin cakes, this one does not have the usual festive spices of cinnamon, cloves or allspice.  If you don't like traditional Christmas fruit cake this cake will fill your holiday dessert tray in grand style.

I like all types of fruit cakes and will willingly eat any that are on the dessert tray but this Sultana Raisin Cake is a favourite of mine.  I think that's because it's made with brown sugar and has a sutble but satisfying butterscotch flavour.  

The original recipe comes from the Sidney River United Church Women's Association cookbook published sometime in the 1960s.  Sydney River is in Nova Scotia.  Someone by the name of A. MacKillop submitted this recipe and I'll wager this was one of the women belonging to the church. 

These church cookbooks hold well-tested, well-beloved recipes but not always great directions for making them.  I guess that's because years ago most women cooked and baked and knew the methods of putting a cake together, so few instructions were given or needed.   This particular recipe didn't have any pan sizes or baking temperatures given but I've figured those out years ago.  As you can see by the picture I first made this cake in 1997.  

If you don't want to use the lemon or almond extracts use 1½ teaspoons of vanilla.  I never add extra fruit as I like the plain raisin cake.

Sultana Raisin Cake
1 cup butter 
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk 
½ teaspoon lemon extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sultana raisins 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10-inch tube or bundt pan or two or three loaf pans, depending on loaf pan size.  Loaf pans may be lined with parchment paper. 

Cream butter and white and brown sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Sift or combine together flour, salt and baking powder.  Add flour alternately with the milk to the creamed mixture.   Add flavourings and raisins.  The raisins may be mixed in by hand.

Scrap batter into prepared tube or bundt pan.  If using loaf pans, divide the batter evenly between your pans.  

Bake 1 ½ - 2 hours at 325 degrees.  The loaf pans may take less time if they are smaller pans. 

When the cake is baked remove from the oven and let sit in pan for at least 15 minutes before turning out on cake rack to completely cool.

Makes 1 large tube or bundt cake.  About 16 servings.

Cream butter, white and brown sugars together until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift or mix flour, baking powder and salt together.
Mix the flour into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.
Don't forget the extracts.  I didn't use lemon this time because I didn't have any and couldn't find any in  the stores!
Lastly, stir in the raisins.  The raisins may be mixed in by hand or use the lowest setting on your mixer.

Scrape the batter into prepared pan and bake 1 ½ - 2 hours at 325 degrees.  If you don't have a tube or bundt pan the cake will take the longer time to bake.  The hole in the middle of the pan makes baking a little quicker as there is no middle to bake.

The cake has been baked to a lovely golden brown.  To make sure the cake is baked through, test with a toothpick or cake tester to make sure there is no unbaked batter.  Once the cake is baked let it sit in the pan about 15 minutes and then turn it out on a cake rack to cool completely.

The cake should be stored in a tightly covered container or can be frozen for several months.  When ready to serve, cut in slices and pass the plate.

This lovely, moist Sultana Raisin Cake, made with brown sugar, has rich overtones of sweet butterscotch.

Tender and moist and full of plump sultana raisins.


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