Tin can cakes

I have recently added to my collection of vintage cookbooks with some from my Great Nana, including her own recipe book. It’s at least 80 years old and is completely falling apart, and at some stage, someone re-wrote most of the recipes in the most beautiful penmanship. Aside from the usual recipes like sponge cake, Belgian biscuits and ginger kisses, there are some really vintage recipes including chilli beer (I’ll give that one a miss), soap, and 2 recipes for home brew (one from Hector and one from Ron, whoever they might be.) There was, however, a recipe for a good old sultana cake, and for some reason I thought it would be fun to bake it in a tin can. I halved the recipe pictured and omitted the peel and cherries. I’d recommend using all 3 essences though; you can definitely taste the difference. I also made one cake with chocolate chips to please the kids 🙂 I think these would also make great gifts, wrapped in baking paper and tied up with string,


I used these cans – they’re 535g and make a nice sliceable log shape. You could use smaller cans and adjust the baking time. One tip – the cans I used had a pull tab to open – leave this end and use a can opener to remove the other lid. If you remove the pull tab lid you’re left with a lip around the inside of the can, which makes removing the cake difficult. You’ll need 3 cans.



225g butter, cubed and softened
225g sugar
225g flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs (I used size 7)
¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ teaspoon lemon essence
¼ teaspoon almond essence
1c sultanas (see notes)
1c chocolate chips (see notes)


Grease and line 3 tin cans and set aside. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides when necessary.
Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition, then add the 3 essences.
With the mixer running on slow, gradually add the flour until it is all incorporated.
Transfer half the mixture into another bowl. Gently stir through the sultanas into one bowl, and the chocolate chips into the other.

Spoon into the prepared cans and smooth the top as best you can.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the can for 10 minutes before gently turning out onto a wire rack.


Serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight tin.


  • You can use all sultanas, or all chocolate chips, just double the amount.

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