Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dundee Cake

Christmas for me is all about the food. The nuts, the port, the baking and eating together...

Many of the things that make our own perfect Christmas begin in childhood. What foods and treats were in our family homes as we grew up. One favourite of mine that my Mum made was Dundee Cake. A lighter fruit cake than the traditional Christmas one.

We went shopping for the ingredients yesterday, weighed, beat, mixed and got it in the oven for its slow bake just in time to leave the house for mass, and back just in time to smell the last half hour of it cooking! I have read that it tastes better if you can keep it a while before eating. I thought we might last the week but within half an hour of it being on the cooling rack we were tucking in to the hot slices and big glasses of cold milk!

Here is the recipe:

 5 oz (150 g) butter, at room temperature
 5 oz (150 g) caster sugar
 3 large eggs
 8 oz (225 g) plain flour, sifted
 1 level teaspoon baking powder
 milk, if necessary
 6 oz (175 g) currants
 6 oz (175 g) sultanas
 2 oz (50 g) glacĂ© cherries, rinsed, dried and cut into halves
 2 oz (50 g) mixed whole candied peel, finely chopped
 2 level tablespoons ground almonds
 grated zest 1 small orange
 grated zest 1 small lemon
 2 oz (50 g) whole blanched almonds
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C).


Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy – or an electric mixer will do this much more quickly.

Whisk the eggs separately then, a little at a time, beat them into the creamed butter and sugar.

Next, using a large tablespoon, carefully fold in the flour and baking powder. Your mixture needs to be of a good, soft, dropping consistency so, if it seems too dry, add a dessertspoon of milk. Now carefully fold in the currants, sultanas, cherries, mixed peel, ground almonds and orange and lemon zests.

Then spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smoothing it out evenly with the back of the spoon.

Next arrange the whole almonds in circles on top of the mixture, but do this carefully and lightly; if they are pressed in they will sink during the baking. Place the cake in the centre of the oven and bake for 2-2½ hours or until the centre is firm and springy to the touch. Let it cool before taking it out of the tin.

This cake keeps very well in an airtight tin and tastes all the better if kept for a few days before cutting. 
(Yeah right!)

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