How good is lockdown. Said no person ever.
I have to admit, I’ve become such a lazy writer lately. Most of what I do write is done through texting; favouring the use of emojis to express my emotions, as opposed to actually using the English language. So if I was writing a message saying “How good is lockdown” for example, I’d have lots of little picture characters to help show the sarcasm in my voice. Insert the face with the tongue hanging out, or the one with a straight line for a mouth and eyebrows popping out of his forehead. Or maybe the one with the hands up on either side, where the yellow turns to blue, kind of like the poor guy has just seen a ghost.
I think you get the point.
We’re all missing our family and friends like mad and although we feel lucky to be safe and sound at home where we’ve been spending lots of time together, just our immediate family, I’d be lying if I said that all of the time spent was that of ‘quality’ time. “I will not lose my temper at the kids today, I will not lose my temper at the kids today, I will not lose my temper at the kids today”… every parent homeschooling young children must repeat to themselves daily.
That’s one of the things I hate most about lockdown. Missing everybody. Not being able to see my mum and dad and our ever growing tribe of siblings and cousins. Dad’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago. And those of you that know the Thomas family, know that it’s a long standing tradition that we celebrate all birthdays with a family catch up, a ‘Nanny’s chocolate cake’ always present. This year, we had to improvise when it hit birthday season though, obviously having to do things a little differently.
A birthday party for Grandy on Zoom was organised; a brightly coloured banner boasting the words, ‘Happy Birthday’ was strung up and of course, as predicted, there were technical difficulties galore. No matter how prepared I think I am for any type of online video conferencing call, I always seem to stuff things up somehow. I really do not know how I’ve managed to keep a website such as this going for as long as I have. I have the technological prowess of a doorstop.
So leaving the tech details to everyone else, I got cracking on making a cake for the Zoom party. Best stick to one’s strengths wouldn’t you say? A phone call to Mim was placed, where we decided that this large sultana cake was the perfect choice, (seeing as though I was convinced that I wanted to send him a cake in the mail). Off I then go to “Marg’s” (Boorowa’s beloved newsagent) to send the cake on a big journey up the Hume to ol’ Sydney town.
I was stoked to see that it arrived at Tomalong in one piece and the six of us crowding around my iPhone, all competing for a spot in the tiny little camera square, enjoyed watching Grandy blow out his candles. Our girls doing the same, blowing out candles on the little choccie cake we’d made to have here; ‘We love you Ga Ga’ piped on top. And of course if you looked really closely, you could just about catch a glimpse of the Nannies chocolate cake that Mum had also made. Old habits die hard.
Why don’t you see how you go sending one of these to someone you love? Package it up really well and let Australia Post work it’s magic. Or simply, whack one in the oven to have on hand come cup of tea o’clock. If there’s one thing that lockdown does need, along with noisy Zoom birthday parties, it’s having a cake in the cake stand at all times.
aussie post sultana cake
Thank you very much to Mim’s friend, Kay, for sharing this recipe with us. We really appreciate it.
This makes a nice big cake which keeps really well in an airtight container.
You will need a 23cm (9inch) square cake tin for this recipe. Line the cake tin with a layer of brown paper (if you have it) and two layers of baking paper. This cake needs to be cooked in a ridiculously low oven, no higher than 125 degrees celsius for a fan forced oven. The cake needs about 1 hour, 45 minutes cooking time, but as with all recipes, it will vary depending on your oven so best to keep a close eye on how it’s going.
750 grams of sultanas
About a cup of brandy or sherry, give or take (you’ll need a tablespoon to soak the sultanas in, 1/4 cup to put in the cake batter and then some more to drizzle over the hot cake)
250 grams softened butter
1 x cup white sugar
5 x eggs
2 & 1/2 cups of plain flour
1/4 cup of self raising flour
Pinch of salt
1 x teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 x teaspoon of almond essence
120 grams of slivered almonds (reserving some to decorate the top of the cake)
- Cover the sultanas with warm to hot water and a good tablespoon of sherry or brandy. Let them soak for at least two hours. Drain after that, discarding the water.
- Then, once the sultanas have had time to soak, using a stand mixer (or hand beaters), cream the butter and sugar together until pale in colour.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Place the drained sultanas in a large mixing bowl, adding the butter/sugar/egg mixture, 1/4 cup of brandy or sherry, the vanilla extract, almond essence and most of the slivered almonds (reserving some to decorate the top of the cake).
- Add the sifted flours and salt.
- Mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Place in prepared cake tin, using wet hands to smooth down the top of the cake.
- Scatter or arrange reserved slivered almonds on top.
- Bake in a very low oven for 1 3/4 hours.
- Take cake out of the oven, keeping it in the tin. Wrap in layers of newspaper and set aside to cool completely.
- As with all fruit cake, I like to serve it slathered in butter.
If you have any questions, give me a shout!