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Queen cakes: classic sultana fairy cakes

Try these sweet and light queen cakes full of juicy dried fruit. They're a quick and easy fairy cake to make, and they taste delicious.

Queen cakes
Queen cakes are fruity little cupcakes

Preparation time

15 minutes

Cooking time

15-20 minutes




  • 110 g (4 oz) soft margarine
  • 110 g (4 oz) caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling 
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • 110 g (4 oz) self-raising flour, sieved 
  • A little milk, if necessary 
  • 60 g (2 oz) sultanas (or other dried fruit of choice such a raisins or currants)


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 12-hole bun or mini bundt tin.

Cream the margarine and sugar together. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well.

Fold the flour into the mixture with a little milk, if necessary, to give a soft dropping consistency. Add the sultanas and mix well.

Place spoonfuls of the mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake for 15–20 minutes until firm to the touch and golden brown. Turn out on a wire rack to cool and sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar.


The recipe is taken from the Berkshire WI Cookery Book (1958), a collection of ‘cherished recipes’, as described by Doris Cuming in the book’s foreword: ‘It may be thought that, in the future, pre-packed and prepared food will replace the individuality of home cooking.

Although these commodities may have to take their place in the running of a busy home and cannot be ignored, tradition and craft have too strong a hold on the memory to be lost easily; by fostering good standards of home cooking, one has some means of comparison and discrimination.’


Use 60 g (2 oz) of washed, chopped glacé cherries instead of the sultanas, or replace 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to make chocolate fairy cakes.

The Women's Institute Vintage Teatime, compiled by Jessica Simmons, is published by Simon & Schuster priced £9.99.

For more fun and easy baking visit our baking with children section


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.