If, like Mary Queen of Scots, you are not a fan of cherries, Dundee Cake is a great alternative to traditional Christmas Cake. It is why we include it in so many of our Christmas hampers. Marmalade makers Keiller’s of Dundee made this traditional Scottish fruit cake popular at the end of the 19th century, hence the name. But according to legend, it was first baked by Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century because she did not want any cherries in her fruit cake.
Dundee cake is a made of candied peel, sultanas, currants and raisons and is easily distinguishable from other fruit cakes because of its light texture and decoration of whole, blanched almonds on top.
In 2013 the Scottish government joined forces with leading bakers in the City of Dundee to launch a campaign to secure official Protected Geographical Status to prevent this light fruit cake from being produced and sold under the Dundee cake label anywhere in Europe other than Scotland.
Dundee Cake is a deliciously light alternative to richer Christmas bakes. You can make it today following this simple recipe – omitting the whisky, if you wish. Or order Walker’s Dundee Cake here.
You will need:
20cm (8-inch) greased and lined cake tin
- 240g (8 oz) flour
- 180g (6 oz) butter
- 150g (5 oz) caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 30g (1oz) blanched almonds
- 45g (1½ oz) mixed peel
- 180g (6 oz) each of currants, raisins, sultanas (seedless white raisins)
- Grated rind and juice of lemon
- 1 level teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons whisky
- 2 tablespoons boiled milk and 1 tablespoon sugar
- Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl. When it is white and creamy, slowly add the four eggs (one at a time), plus a spoonful of flour with each beating well all the time.
- Stir in the nuts and fruits. Add the rest of the flour, (sifted with the baking powder) and the whisky. Make sure the mixture is stirred well – right to the foot of the bowl. If it is too stiff, add a little milk.
- Place mixture in an 8-inch greased and lined cake tin. Flatten the top with hands which are slightly wet.
- Cover with foil or greaseproof paper and bake at 325F (170C) or gas mark 3 for two hours.
- Halfway through, take off the foil and arrange the split almonds in concentric circles on the top of the cake.
- Check the cake with a skewer towards the end of cooking – if it is still wet in the middle, put it back for more cooking! 5/10 minutes before cooking is finished, brush the top with the sweetened milk to create a dry glaze.
- Keep in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out on a wired tray.
- Store in an airtight container.