Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Below is an article on the Scottish dessert known as Dundee Cake:
For years, I have assumed there was only one kind of fruitcake. As it turned out, I was wrong.
The origin of fruitcake dates back to Imperial Rome. One form of the dessert that has developed over the years is one from Scotland called Dundee Cake. The dessert had originated in nineteenth-century Scotland, as a mass-produced cake by the marmalade company called James Keiller & Son. Keiller's claimed to be the originator of the term, "Dundee Cake", but there have been similar fruitcakes produced in Scotland . . . even before the nineteenth-century.
Dundee Cake consists of currants, sultanas almonds and malt whiskey. Sometimes, fruit peel may be added to the recipe. The top of the cake is typically decorated with concentric circles of almonds and glace cherries in the middle of each circle. As I had stated earlier, similar fruitcakes had been produced in Scotland before the nineteenth-century. Queen Mary of Scotland preferred her fruitcake without the cherries, since she did not like the glace fruit.
The cake is sold in supermarkets throughout Great Britain today. It was also produced and marketed in India - before and after its independence from Britain in 1947 by Britannia Industries and its successor firms. However, the cake was withdrawn from Indian markets in 1980. Yet, it continued to be supplied privately as a corporate Christmas gift by the maker. Dundee Cake is traditionally purchased and served for the Christmas holidays. However, Queen Elizabeth II is reported to enjoy the dessert during afternoon tea.
Below is a recipe for Dundee Cake from The Spruce website:
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.