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My Uncle was visiting from New Zealand – he wanted to travel along some of route 66 while he was 66 years old! Once he had achieved his goal, we were honored that we were able to share his 67th birthday with him!
I discovered that my Grandmother would always make a sultana cake for him on his birthday, and I was excited to continue the tradition, even down to the recipe, which was from the Edmonds Cookery Book – the definitive New Zealand cookbook.
Our whole family loved the moist, delicious, light cake. I especially enjoyed the hint of almond, and thought it was wonderful with a cup of tea!
I also made this recently for a friend, who gave me the intriguing idea of soaking the sultanas in rum instead of water – I will definitely try that next time!

2 cups sultanas (raisins)
250 grams butter, chopped in small pieces
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Heat oven to 325F.
Put sultanas in a saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Add butter. In a bowl beat sugar into eggs until well combined. Add sultana mixture and essence. Sift flour and baking powder together. Mix sifted ingredients into fruit mixture. Spoon mixture into a greased and lined 20cm square cake tin.
Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooking rack.

Recipe adapted from the Edmonds Cookery Book, 1992

It has been weeks since I have had a bite of this delightful vanilla cake, but my tastebuds still tingle at the thought. Moist and dense, the richness of the cake and the sweetness of the icing was such a wonderful, mouthwatering combination.
It does take a bit of time to make this cake, but it is well worth it, and made me realize I need a lot more practice making layer cakes.


2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

3 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
7 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons seedless strawberry jam
2 1/4 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced, divided

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Beat in sugar, then jam. Beat cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into frosting. Cover, chill until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours.

Heat oven to 325F.
Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add sour cream, beat 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating to blend after each addition. Divide batter between prepared pans.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean about 50 minutes.
Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides, then true out cakes onto racks and cool completely.
Using large serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place 1 cake half, cut side up, on cake plate. Spread 2 tablespoons strawberry jam over, then 3/4 cup frosting. Top with 3/4 cup slices berries, arranging in single layer. Repeat 2 more times with cake layer, jam, frosting and berries. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
Cut cake into wedges, serve with remaining sliced berries.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2009