Sweet memories of Tan Cake

20130528_150829When I was a kid, there was one thing my Mum was famous for…Tan Cake.  Every child in our neighborhood knew about it, and wanted some (and no one ever questioned why a slice was called a cake!).   To be fair, how could anyone turn down something that requires half a tin of Sweetened Condensed Milk?

I remember my older brother telling me about one of the “Cake on a Plate” days they had in his primary school classroom.  Mum had, as usual baked Tan Cake.  It was her tried, tested and never fail “go to” recipe.  The deal was that every child in the class had to take in some home baking from their Mum, and then they moved around the table a bit like the “Musical Chairs” game and you were supposed to take a piece from the plate closest to you.   Apparently one of the girls did everything she could to make sure that she was within arms reach of my brother’s plate and had several pieces.  I’m not sure if they do things like that in schools anymore, but the memory always makes me smile and remember my dear Mum.

Needless to say, my Mum still bakes this delicious slice, and I turned to this good ‘ole gem a couple of days ago.  Even making it is such a treat for me, and licking the wooden spoon from the caramel brings back such happy, contented childhood thoughts.

So, without further ado…here is the infamous recipe!

Tan Cake


3oz (1/3 C) Sugar
6oz (170gm) Butter
10oz (2 C + 2 T) Flour


2oz (60gm) Butter
½ Tin (200gm) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 T Golden Syrup
2 T Chopped Nuts


  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add flour.
  3. Press ¾ of mixture into base of a swiss roll tin.
  4. Warm butter, golden syrup and sweetened condensed milk in a pan until butter is melted.
  5. Pour over base.
  6. Crumble left over base mixture on top.
  7. Sprinkle over chopped nuts.
  8. Bake at 160oC for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

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