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 we can get to a true, traditional cake as it contains the almonds, whiskey, 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 whiskey would be used to flavor the cake. However, if whiskey is not your tipple, then feel free to use brandy or even sherry.
- 5 1/2 ounces/150 grams butter (slightly softened)
- 5 1/2 ounces/150 grams dark brown sugar (soft)
- 1 large orange (zested)
- 8 ounces/225 grams all-purpose flour (or plain flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice (Pumpkin Pie mix makes a good alternative)
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 1 pound/450 grams dried fruit (like sultanas, currants, and raisins)
- 2 ounces/55 grams candied peel (chopped)
- Optional: 2 ounces/55 grams glace cherries (halved)
- 1 tablespoon malt whiskey (or brandy, if you prefer)
- 4 ounces/115 grams whole almonds (blanched)
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 300 F/150 C/Gas 2.
Line an 8 1/2-inch 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.
In another bowl, 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 dried 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 whiskey using a spoon or spatula.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and gently level the surface.
Cook in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 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 onto a cooling rack and leave the cake to cool in the tin.
Once cooled it is ready to eat. Serve and enjoy!
The cake keeps well when stored in an airtight tin.
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 idiosyncrasies.