Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake Recipe

Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 30 Mins Total Time: 50 Mins

Today, I’m going to share with you a delicious and easy recipe for Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake, a moist and spiced cake that is perfect for afternoon tea or dessert. This recipe is based on the famous British baker and cookbook author Mary Berry, who is known for her simple and elegant baking style. I’ll show you how to make this cake step by step, with tips and tricks along the way.

Let’s get started!

What is Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake?

Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake is a traditional farmhouse cake that is made with fresh apples, sultanas (or raisins), cinnamon, and butter. The apples and sultanas give the cake moisture and sweetness, while the cinnamon adds a warm and aromatic flavor. The cake is baked in a round tin and sprinkled with demerara sugar for a crunchy topping. It’s a simple and satisfying cake that can be enjoyed any time of the day.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simplicity: Easy to make with commonly available ingredients.
  • Waste Reduction: A fantastic way to utilize overripe apples.
  • Versatility: This can be enjoyed warm or cold, with various accompaniments.
  • Universal Appeal: Loved by all age groups.

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake

To make this apple and sultana cake, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 450 grams of apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 115-225 grams of sultanas
  • 115 grams of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 225 grams of self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 115 grams of light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten well
  • 6-8 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of demerara sugar (optional)

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake

To make this apple and sultana cake, you’ll need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the cake tin

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4, which is equivalent to 356°F/320°F fan. This is the optimal temperature for baking this cake, as it allows it to cook evenly and develop a nice crust.
  • Grease a deep 20cm cake tin with some butter, and line it with baking paper. This will prevent the cake from sticking to the tin and make it easier to remove. You can also use a springform cake tin, which has a removable bottom and sides, or a silicone cake tin, which is flexible and non-stick.

Step 2: Make the stewed apple

  • In a large saucepan, combine the chopped apples, some caster sugar, some cinnamon, and a splash of water. The amount of sugar and cinnamon you use depends on how sweet and spicy you want your stewed apple to be, and the type of apples you use. I suggest starting with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and adjusting to your taste. The water helps the apples cook and prevents them from burning. You only need a small amount of water, about 2-3 tablespoons, as the apples will release their own juices as they cook.
  • Cook the apple mixture over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and mushy, and the liquid has evaporated. This will take about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size and ripeness of your apples. You can also use a potato masher or a fork to mash the apples as they cook, to make them smoother and more uniform. You should end up with about 225-285 grams of stewed apple, which is equivalent to 1-1 1/4 cups.
  • Transfer the stewed apple to a bowl and let it cool completely. You can also refrigerate it for later use, or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Step 3: Make the cake batter

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and cinnamon. This will aerate the flour and distribute the cinnamon evenly. You can also sift the flour and cinnamon together if you prefer.
  • Add the butter to the flour mixture, and use your fingertips to rub it in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. This will create a crumbly and tender cake. You can also use a pastry blender, a fork, or a food processor to cut in the butter if you find it easier.
  • Add the light brown sugar to the flour and butter mixture, and stir well to combine. This will add sweetness and moisture to the cake.
  • Add the egg to the flour mixture, and mix well to form a thick and sticky dough. You can use a wooden spoon, a spatula, or your hands to mix the dough. If the dough is too dry, add some milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency. You may need 6-8 tablespoons of milk, depending on the size of your egg and the moisture of your flour. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not runny or sticky.
  • Add the sultanas to the dough, and fold them in gently. This will add texture and flavor to the cake. You can also add some chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds for some crunch if you like.
  • Add the cooled stewed apple to the dough, and fold it in gently. This will add moisture and sweetness to the cake, and create pockets of apple in every bite. Be careful not to overmix the dough, as this will make the cake tough and dense.

Step 4: Bake the cake

  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared cake tin, and spread it evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon. The batter will be thick and lumpy, but don’t worry, it will smooth out and rise as it bakes.
  • Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the cake batter, if using. This will create a crunchy and golden topping for the cake. You can also add some extra cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves for more spice if you like.
  • Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until it is golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. The baking time may vary depending on your oven and the size and depth of your cake tin, so start checking for doneness after 30 minutes. If the cake is browning too quickly but isn’t cooked through, you can cover it with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
  • The cake should rise and become firm to the touch, and the aroma of baked apples and cinnamon should fill your kitchen. This is a sign that your cake is almost ready.
  • Once done, remove the cake from the oven and proceed to the next step for cooling and serving.

Step 5: Cool the cake

  • Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly in the tin for 10 minutes. This will allow the cake to set and firm up, and make it easier to remove from the tin.
  • Carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake, and invert it onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking paper and flip the cake right side up. Let it cool completely on the wire rack, or serve it warm if you prefer.

Step 6: Enjoy the cake

  • Cut the cake into slices and enjoy it as it is, or with some custard, whipped cream, ice cream, or your favorite topping. You can also dust some icing sugar over the cake for a pretty finish if you like.
  • Store any leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the cake for up to 3 months, wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil. To thaw the cake, let it sit at room temperature for a few hours, or microwave it for a few seconds.
Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake Recipe
Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake

What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake?

This cake’s rich, fruity flavor and moist texture make it versatile enough to pair with a variety of accompaniments. Whether you’re serving it as a dessert or a teatime treat, here are some delightful pairings:

  • Custard or Vanilla Ice Cream: For a classic dessert experience, serve the cake warm with a side of creamy custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This combination brings a lovely contrast between the warm cake and the cool, creamy ice cream.
  • Whipped Cream or Clotted Cream: A dollop of lightly whipped cream or rich clotted cream adds a luxurious touch to each slice.
  • Your Favorite Tea or Coffee: Enjoy a slice with a hot cup of tea or coffee for a comforting afternoon snack. The cake’s sweetness complements the bitterness of the coffee or the herbal notes of tea perfectly.
  • Fresh Fruit or Berry Compote: Serve alongside fresh fruit slices or a berry compote for a refreshing and slightly tangy contrast to the sweet cake.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake

To ensure your Mary Berry Apple and Sultana Cake turns out perfectly every time, consider these expert tips:

  1. Apple Selection: A mix of sweet and tart apples creates a balanced flavor. Try combining varieties like Granny Smith with Gala or Honeycrisp.
  2. Even Chopping: Uniformly chopped apples ensure consistent cooking and texture in every bite of the cake.
  3. Don’t Overmix: To maintain the cake’s tender crumb, mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined. Overmixing can lead to a dense cake.
  4. Check for Doneness: Insert a skewer into the center of the cake to check if it’s done. It should come out clean, indicating the cake is perfectly baked.
  5. Cooling Time: Allowing the cake to cool in the tin helps it to set properly, reducing the risk of it breaking apart when you transfer it to a wire rack.

Variations of Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake

Experiment with these variations to give a delightful twist to the classic recipe:

  1. Nutty Twist: Incorporate chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds for added crunch and a nutty flavor that complements the apples and sultanas beautifully.
  2. Spice It Up: Add spices like nutmeg, ginger, or allspice for extra warmth and complexity. These spices work wonderfully with apple desserts.
  3. Citrus Zest: Infuse a refreshing note with the zest of a lemon or an orange. This not only adds a lovely aroma but also brightens up the flavors.
  4. Chocolate Chips: For chocolate lovers, adding a handful of chocolate chips can create a delightful contrast of flavors.
  5. Gluten-Free Adaptation: Substitute the self-raising flour with a gluten-free blend to cater to those with dietary restrictions.

Apple And Sultana Cake Recipe Mary Berry

Nutrition Value (per serving, approximate):

  • Calories: 320-400 kcal
  • Fat: 12-15g (Saturated: 7-9g)
  • Carbohydrates: 50-60g (Sugars: 30-35g)
  • Protein: 3-4g
  • Fiber: 2-3g
  • Sodium: 100-120mg

Other Apple Cake Recipes to Try


Can I make the Mary Berry Apple and Sultana Cake gluten-free?

Yes, you can make this cake gluten-free by substituting the self-raising flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Ensure the blend includes a raising agent or add gluten-free baking powder according to package instructions to achieve the right texture.

What types of apples are best for this cake?

The best apples for this cake are a mix of sweet and tart varieties. Sweet apples like Gala or Fuji add natural sweetness, while tart varieties like Granny Smith provide a balancing sharpness. The combination enhances the overall flavor of the cake.

Can I freeze the Apple and Sultana Cake?

Absolutely. This cake freezes well. Cool it completely, then wrap it in plastic wrap and foil before freezing. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or gently reheat in the microwave or oven.

How can I tell when the cake is perfectly baked?

To check for doneness, insert a skewer or a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Also, the cake should be golden brown on top and firm to the touch. Oven temperatures can vary, so start checking a few minutes before the suggested baking time ends.

Are there any dairy-free adaptations for this recipe?

Yes, to make this cake dairy-free, replace the butter with a dairy-free alternative like margarine or coconut oil. Also, ensure that any accompaniments like custard or whipped cream are dairy-free or plant-based.

My cake didn’t rise properly. What could have gone wrong?

There are a few reasons why cakes might not properly rise:

  • Old baking powder – Check the expiration date and give the baking powder a “test” stir to see if it fizzes. If not, it has lost its leavening power.
  • Overmixing – Gently mix just until flour is incorporated; overbeating can develop too much gluten, resulting in a dense and flat cake.
  • Inaccurate oven temperature – Use an oven thermometer to verify the temperature, and preheat fully before baking. Too low of a temperature prevents the cake from rising quickly.

Why did my cake turn out dry?

Dry, crumbly cakes usually stem from a couple of issues:

  • Overbaking – Always test cakes for doneness 5-10 minutes before the recommended bake time. Poke the cake with a toothpick to check – if it comes out clean, it’s done.
  • Apple variety – Some apples release more moisture when baked. Choose juicy types like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith over dry varieties like Red Delicious.
  • Too much flour – Carefully measure all ingredients for accurate ratios. Too much flour absorbs moisture needed to keep the cake tender.


I hope you enjoyed this recipe for Mary Berry Apple And Sultana Cake, and that you’ll try it soon. Please let me know how it turned out for you, and if you have any questions or feedback about the recipe. Thank you for reading my blog.

Leave a Reply