Sunday, 26 October 2008

Sultana cake with vanilla custard buttercream

This is one of my all-time favourite cakes; the last time I made it was pre-blog and pre-assuming my Caked Crusader identity. It’s simply pleasing to eat – the sponge is soft and the sultanas provide little juicy bursts of sweetness. For a fruit cake it’s also very light – don’t write it off as a heavy, Christmas-style cake.

Previously, I have made this cake and served it plainly. However, I recently came across a wonderful new buttercream recipe that combines butter with custard. I don’t have the words to describe just how gorgeous the buttercream is; it’s whipped and light and sweet and why are you still reading this – you should be off making it!!! It’s also mega-rich but oh so tasty and I knew it would work well with the sultana cake. So here it is:

The cake is light due to the inclusion of buttermilk. Whenever I look at buttermilk the Hoagy Carmichael classic “Ole Buttermilk Sky” comes to mind - never let it be said I don’t have my finger on the pulse of what the yoof are listening to! I can’t imagine a sky being the colour of buttermilk yet Hoagy wouldn’t lie to me. This clip on Youtube seems to show a buttermilk sky (with the bonus of Hoagy’s mellow vocals) but it doesn’t look much like what’s in my carton:

Some gratuitous extra shots!

Ingredients:For the cake:250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
320g sultanas
375g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
170ml buttermilk

For the custard buttercream:
150ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
125g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan oven 140°C/315°F/Gas mark 2-3.
- Grease and line a 20cm square tin. It’s easier if the tin is either springform or loose bottomed.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This is a big cake that uses large quantities of ingredients so it will take longer to cream the butter and sugar. Don’t skimp!
- Gradually beat in the egg and vanilla. If the mix looks like it’s curdling add some of the flour.
- Stir in the sultanas.
- Fold in a third of the flour and baking powder, then a third of the buttermilk, then a third of the flour and so on until both are fully combined.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Bake for 1 - 1 ¼ hours or until a skewer comes out cleanly. Mine took 1 hour 5 minutes.
- Cool for 30 minutes before removing from the tin and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Up to this point, the cake can be made a day in advance of serving. I would only recommend making the buttercream on the day of serving.
- Now make the buttercream: Place the milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring gently to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Whisk the egg yolks and then pour the milk and sugar mix over them, whisking all the time.
- Return the custard mixture to the saucepan and cook over a medium heat stirring all the time.
- After approximately 10 minutes, the custard will coat the back of your spoon. Remove it from the heat and leave to cool. If you have overcooked the custard and it’s gone lumpy, pass it through a sieve. To be honest, I always pass custard through a sieve as it’s horrible to put something in your mouth expecting it to be smooth and getting even the tiniest lump.
- Place the butter in a bowl and whisk until it is soft and looks almost whipped.
- Gradually whisk in the cooled (but not cold) custard until combined.
- Finally, whisk in the vanilla.
- Spread the buttercream over the sultana cake.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Cherie said...

Oh, CC, that sultana cake looks yummy! And icing with custard, how could you tempt me so? :)

I've been meaning to ask you a question and this lovely sultana cake reminded me to do so: Do you have a good recipe for something strongly resembling a Manor House Cake? My expat husband and I would be eternally grateful. Eternally. Grateful.

By the way, that choc pudding last week was heavenly. And we both agree with you about the choc sauce AND the custard. Mmmmmm, lovely!

glamah16 said...

That custard buttervream sounds incredible. I really need to find more icings and step up my game.I would eat that cake any time of the year.

Holler said...

I am very impressed with your new idea for buttercream! Sounds delicious :)

The Caked Crusader said...

Funny you should ask that question Cherie as we always think that this cake is like a Manor House but nicer. I was going to say it in the post but then wondered if enough people would know what a MH cake was!
It's got that soft crumbliness of a MH cake and the sweet bursts of sultanas. I guess if you wanted to make it more MH-like you could use raisin and sultanas instead of solely sultanas.

Caked Crusader

Dee said...

Yummo! I've gotta try this buttercream. Does it hold its shape well?

Soo said...

As one of the lucky recipients of CC cakes I'm in turmoil over this one.

It does look gorgeous, and I expect tastes lovely and I'm desperate to taste the custard-y buttercream - but I'm foiled my irrational dislike of sultanas.

Hypothetically speaking - if someone were to distract you do you think someone could nab a cake and just eat the topping???

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Dee

The buttercream is soft but not runny. I gave it a few minutes in the fridge just to firm it up.

The Caked Crusader

anudivya said...

Oh man! That buttercream looks and sounds yum.

Maria said...

What a heavenly dessert!

Big Boys Oven said...

wow such a simple selicious cake you have there! :) yummy!

Srivalli said...

What a lovely place you have full of bakes...if only I can too..:(..well I will just enjoy the visual treats!..

Margaret said...

I think this is one of my favourite cakes that you have made.
If the buttercream has to be used on the day it's made, does that mean I've got to eat all of the cake in one day.........?!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi margaret

The buttercream does keep, it's just that it's best kept in the fridge. I don't like keeping cakes in the fridge unless necessary so I held off making the buttercream until it was needed.

Having said that, I work on the basis that ALL cakes should be eaten on the day they're made!!!

The Caked Crusader

Ling's Passion said...

The custard buttercream sounds interesting. Will try the next I bake cupcakes.

Emiline said...

Mmmm, that does look very Christmasy. I would love to try it!

Cakelaw said...

Custard buttercream - I soooo wanna try that!

Rosie said...

I love the sound of this cake C.C. and the custard icing!! It looks a very light fruit cake packed with flavour!

Rosie x

PG said...

that is so yummy! wonderful!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I love the look of this cake! And I've got a batch of cupcakes to make this weekend--I think I have to try this buttercream! As if buttercream wasn't rich enough to start with, this sounds oh so good

Katie said...

Oh yum that cake looks divine. Love the sound of the buttercream, it sounds so smooth and creamy. Will be trying this one!

Jerri - Simply Sweet Home said...

Wow! This looks wonderful. Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

Yummmmmmm, this sounds delicious. Could I use candied cherries in this recipie? Georgina

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Georgina

I think any dried or candied fruit would work well in this cake. But I think you should halve or maybe even quarter the cherries to ensure they don't sink.

Happy baking!

The Caked Crusader

Darren Kelchure said...

Hi Caked Crusader. It's been a while but I recently Googled and found this recipe. I've (forgive me) modified it a bit. If you get a cup of water. Stick it in a saucepan and let it simmer, add the sultanas and keep it on simmer until they've soaked up most of the water, it makes the cake unbelievably moist! :-D

Sumaiyyah said...

Oh CC, I want to bake every single cake that you make, you make such great choices and your cakes look sooooo goooooooddddd!

Sumaiyyah said...

Oh CC, I want to bake every single cake that you make, you make such great choices and your cakes look sooooo goooooooddddd!

plasterer bristol said...

mmm yummy. One of my favorite recipes. Thanks for sharing this.