A traditional Dundee cake comes from, no surprises, Dundee in Scotland. The cake is distinctive alongside other rich fruit cakes by circles of blanched almonds on the surface of the cake.
There are many versions of the Dundee Cake, all claiming to be 'the one" but usually any lovely rich fruit cake will do the job. This cake is as near as I can get to a true, traditional cake as it contains the almonds, whisky, and the orange peel.
Dundee is also the birthplace of British marmalade thanks to the Keiller family who are generally credited with making the first commercially available, breakfast preserve. As such, a pure and true Dundee cake will include the zest of an orange thus linking it to the marmalade making in the town. This recipe includes a little of both and so has quite a citrus tang to it.
As this is also a Scottish cake, traditionally, a malt whisky would be used to flavor the cake. However, if whisky is not your tipple, then feel free to use brandy or even sherry.
- 5 1/2oz/ 150g butter, slightly softened
- 5 1/2oz/ 150g soft, dark brown sugar
- 3 large free-range eggs
- Grated zest of 1 large orange
- 8oz/225g plain flour or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoons mixed spice (Pumpkin Pie mix makes a good alternative)
- 1 lb/450g dried fruit - sultanas, currants, and raisins
- 2oz/55g candied peel, chopped
- 2oz/55g glace cherries, halved (optional)
- 1 tablespoon malt whisky (or brandy if you prefer)
- 115g / 4 oz whole blanched almonds
- Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/Gas 2.
- Line an 8½"/22cm cake tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and grease lightly with a little butter.
- Place both the butter, sugar, and zest into a large roomy baking bowl. Cream the butter into the sugar until light, smooth and creamy using either a fork or electric hand whisk.
- Mix the flour with the baking powder and mixed spice. Beat one egg into the creamed butter, then beat in a third of the flour. Repeat until all the eggs and flour are used up.
- Add the fruits, citrus candied peel, and cherries (if using) to the mixture and stir well but gently - you don't want to flatten the cake batter too much - until all the fruits are incorporated into the mixture.
- Finally, stir in the whisky using a spoon or spatula.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and gently level the surface. Cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours, then arrange the blanched almonds into circles on the top and return the cake to the oven. Cook for another hour or until the cake is a deep, golden brown.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place on to a cooling rack and leave the cake to cool in the tin. Once cooled it is ready to eat.
- The cake keeps well when stored in an airtight tin.
Notes on Making a Dundee Cake:
Do not rush the baking of this cake, it is high in sugars and fruit and needs the longer slowing baking to make sure it does not burn. If you feel it is browning too quickly lower the heat, all ovens have their own idiosyncracies.