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Friday, December 9, 2016

Dundee Cake ~ The Famous Scottish Fruit Cake

        Dundee cake is a famous traditional Scottish fruit cake with a rich flavour. It was first commercially developed in Dundee on the Scottish east coast in the early 1800s, but the cake has roots more than 350 years ago. Today, Dundee cake remains one of the most popular Scottish food and drink specialties. It is said that the cake was originally made for Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century. Legend has it that she didn’t like cherries, which were traditional in fruit cakes at the time. Local bakers made a version with almonds instead of cherries, decorating the top in a beautiful fashion with concentric circles of almonds. It became a Dundee favourite, hand baked by those wanting to serve up the finest cake with luxurious, rich ingredients. This happened in the early nineteenth century, and the cake soon spread to other bakeries across Scotland.
    This cake is stuffed with dry fruits, lots of almonds and glazed cherries and coated with a sweet glaze. I stuffed my dundee cake with dates, figs, raisins, lots of almonds and cherries. Dundee cake is often sweetened with some jam or preserve and flavoured with some allspice or a mixture of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg powder. 
     I didn't decorate the top in traditional manner but in flower form with halved almonds and cherries.

You Need ::
All-purpose Flour : 2 and 1/4 cup
White/brown sugar : 1 and 1/4 cup(powdered)
Eggs : 3
Warm Milk : 2/3 cup(as needed to make the batter)
Butter(unsalted) : 1/2 cup
Oil : 1/4 cup
Apricot/orange jam : 3-4 tblsp.
Baking Powder : 1 tsp.
Almonds : 150 gms. (approx.)
Raisin : 1/2 cup
Dates : 7-8 nos.(chopped)
Figs : 7-8 nos. (chopped)
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
Cherries : 6-7 nos.(chopped) + 4-5 (for decoration, if doing the flower decoration like mine)
Spice Powders : 1 tblsp. (ground spice mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon & cloves) 

Milk : 1 tblsp.
Sugar : 1 tsp.

How To :: 

Process to Peel off the skin of almonds :
  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
  2. Place your raw almonds into the boiling water.
  3. Drain the almonds immediately in a colander or strainer and rinse them with cold water to cool them.
  4. Blot the almonds dry with a paper towel.
  5. Use your fingers to gently squeeze the almonds and loosen the skin from them. This is the easiest way to peel off the skin of almonds.
How to Bake the cake :
  • After peeling off the skin, chop about 10-15 almonds in small cubes and cut into halves from rest of the almonds.
  • Put the butter in a large bowl and beat well until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar, one at a time, beating well between each addition.  Add oil in the batter and mix well. Stir in the orange and lemon zest and apricot jam. 
  • In another bowl, sieve together the flour and baking powder. In the same bowl, add all the dry fruits, chopped almonds, cherries and spice powders. Mix well everything. Now pour this flour mixture slowly into the butter-sugar-egg batter little at a time. Beat in between to mix well. Add in milk as much needed to make a creamy batter. Beat in high speed for couple of minutes and our dundee cake batter is ready.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 degree C. Grease your baking pan well and pour the batter into greased baking pan. Label the top with a spatula. Now decorate the cake with halved almonds and cherry. I arranged them in flower pattern for a change and placed a half cherry in the center of each flower. You can arrange the almonds in traditional manner also, arrange the whole almonds close together in neat circles on the top of the cake. (see pic below)
  • Place the pan in the middle rack of your oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake, comes out with little crumbs. After 45 minutes of baking, remove the cake from the oven, put the milk and sugar into a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Brush over the top of the cake and return the cake to the oven for another 5 mins. Checking Guidelines ----- When it’s done it should have just a few crumbs attached. It’s important not to overcook this cake so the center will be a little soft. 
  • Remove and allow the cake to cool in the tin. Rest the cake for at least 4-5 hours before cutting.

Sending this Christmas special fruit cake to Kolkata Food Blogger's Christmas Baking event 

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