Easy Sultana Fairy Cakes / Buns

Sultana Buns

My hubby and I have tried many times without success to replicate his Nan’s recipe for sultana buns. They are so simple and unassuming but are just yummy with a cup of tea.

Hubby’s Nan always has a batch of these in her house and sends us off with a bag full to take home whenever we visit. The only problem is she has been making the recipe for so long she goes entirely on sight and doesn’t measure anything!

We eventually found this recipe and spent a few days experimenting on oven temperatures to get them exactly as his Nan makes them (with slightly pointed tops). If you want your buns flat (easier if making them without sultanas to ice etc.) then reduce your oven temperatures to 180*C (170*C for a fan oven) and cook for slightly longer.

See the bottom of the recipe for some great ideas for variations. Makes 24 buns.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do! L x



6 oz butter
6 oz caster sugar
3 eggs
drop of vanilla extract
6 oz self raising flour
3 oz sultanas
24 paper bun cases



1. Pre heat oven to 200*C (190*C for fan ovens)
2. Cream the sugar and butter together until creamy and fluffy.
3. Break the eggs into a jug, add a drop of vanilla extract and mix together.
4. Pour a small quantity of the eggs into the cake mix, and beat the eggs in. Repeat until all of the eggs have been used up. (Add a little flour into the cake mix with the eggs to stop the mix from curdling).
5. Sift the flour in 2 lots into the bowl. Gently fold in the flour.
6. Add the sultanas and gently fold this in.
7. Spoon the cake mix into the bun cases. About 2 thirds full worked best for us.
8. Cook for approx 12-15 mins or until they start to go golden on top. To test if they are done insert a skewer and see if it comes out clean, if it does, they are done. Alternatively give the top of the bun a little press, if it bounces back they are ready 🙂
9. Cool on a wire rack, and then store in an airtight tin. These keep well for about a week. The buns can also be frozen.



While looking around for this recipe I found these variations on the basic sponge. Hope to try lots of these soon particularly the jammy buns – they sounds lovely!

  • add some cocoa and a drop of milk for chocolate buns
  • add some dessicated coconut and a drop of milk for coconut buns
  • add chopped cherries, chopped apricots or other dried fruit for fruity buns
  • add a mashed banana for banana buns
  • Cut a circle out of the top of the bun and fill with buttercream then replace with top in halves for butterfly cakes
  • Put a small blob of the jam on top of half of mixture then other half of mixture on top for jammy buns
  • Add some choc chips (roll in flour before adding them, apparently it stops them sinking to the bottom) for chocolate chip buns.
  • Add lemon juice instead of vanilla and then make lemon icing for the top, using some lemon juice with the water you add to icing sugar.


    • They are never quite the same are they Mand. Ours just don’t ever go quite as pointy as Nanny Dotty’s. Want to try them in caravan to see if gas oven makes a difference. L x

  1. WONDERFUL, made my first batch last week but the trouble was I intended to freeze half but I ate the lot in a whole day! I could not help myself as they were so delicious, I am making a second batch today and will TRY to freeze some for when my daughter visits, thank you so much they are really just so nice. You should name them “NANS PERFECT BUNS” 🙂

  2. I just stumbled across this recipe and i cant wait to try it! I’ve had the same problem ever since my grandma passed away, I think back to helping her make them, and then eating them all again lol

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