Celebrity Recipes

Maggie Beer


Sultana Cake

In 1994 a local women’s group, the Soroptimist International of Barossa Valley Inc., produced Riches from the Vine, a soft-cover cookery book containing a great potpourri of recipes related to the grape, for which I had the honour of writing the foreword for. This cake takes inspiration from a recipe in the book, although given my inclination for generous flavours, I’ve added more grapes, more lemon – well, basically more of everything. The outcome is a cake that is so incredibly moist it lasts for days – that is if anyone has the strength of character to not keep going back for more. With its beautiful crisp golden-brown exterior and luscious interior, this cake is absolutely tantalising eaten warm from the oven. So much so that it could easily double as dessert; just add a jug of caramel sauce and a swirl of cold pouring cream.

Serves 8-10

  • 3 free-range eggs (using 55 g eggs)
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 60 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 75 ml milk
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • finely grated zest of 4 lemons
  • large pinch freshly grated or
  • ground nutmeg
  • 500 g picked fresh seedless green
  • grapes (about 3 cups picked grapes)
  • 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
  • icing sugar (optional), for dusting
  • fresh vine leaves (optional), to serve

Preheat fan-forced oven to 180°C (350°F).

Grease and line a deep 20 cm springform cake tin with baking paper.

Using hand-held electric beaters, beat eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Add oil, butter and milk and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder, then stir in lemon zest and nutmeg.

Tip flour mixture into egg mixture and stir to combine. Add two-thirds of the picked grapes and stir to just combine, then pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining grapes and demerara sugar. Return to oven and bake for another 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Turn cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

Dust cooled cake with icing sugar, if using, then cut into slices and serve on a bed of fresh vine leaves, if desired.