Dundee cake

Dundee cake

Dundee cake

First of all Merry Christmas and a Happy Boxing day to you all! It’s a welcome relief from cooking and eating to write on this blog, if truth be known. Although we didn’t really overdo it in the food department, like some people do, it feels as if I have been stuck in the kitchen for the last couple of days. And I can’t say I have received a lot of help from the men in my life. Both sons when they return home for Christmas revert to the time when they were ten. Incapable of even making a cup of tea for their own mother. The irony is they can cook very well. Ah well! I guess they come home to get spoilt and I must oblige, being an Italian mamma after all. 😉 But enough chit chat. The cake I am about to blog is another classic. It’s basically a fruit cake but much lighter than your traditional Christmas cake (which I find far too heavy and rich). There are many recipes out there but when it comes to classics there is only one master for me: good old Delia. I got the recipe straight out of her web page. I slightly adapted it as I added some cranberries to the dried fruit mixture. The good thing about it is that it keeps well and, in fact, its flavour improves if eaten after a few days. Of course you don’t have to wait for Christmas to make it. In fact I think I will repeat the experiment real soon because even I liked it.


  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  • 150g spreadable butter
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 dessertspoon milk, if needed
  • 175g currants (I used dried cranberries instead)
  • 175g sultanas
  • 50g glace cherries, rinsed dried and cut into halves
  • 50g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  • 2 level tablespoons ground almonds
  • For the topping:
  • 60g whole blanched almonds (I used normal whole almonds as I didn’t have any blanched ones. Just imagine the almonds on the top to be white. :-) )


First of all sift the flour and baking powder into a roomy mixing bowl, lifting the sieve quite high to give the flour a good airing as it goes down.

Then simply add the butter, caster sugar and eggs, and, using an electric hand whisk, combine them for about 1–2 minutes until you have a smooth dropping consistency. If it seems too dry, add a dessertspoon of milk.

Next fold in all the other ingredients: currants, sultanas, cherries, mixed peel, ground almonds and orange and lemon zest. Now spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin (18-20 cm.) , spreading it out evenly with the back of the spoon. Then, carefully, arrange the whole almonds in concentric circles over the top – but drop them on very lightly (if you press them down too hard they will disappear during the cooking).

Place the cake near the centre of the oven and bake for 1¾ hours at 170 degrees or until the centre is firm and springy to touch (I turned it down to 160 degrees after 40 minutes as I thought it was browning too fast). Allow it to cool before taking it out of the tin. Dundee cake keeps very well in an airtight tin and tastes better if it’s kept a few days before cutting.

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