- November 2020
- Serves 12
- Hands on time 20 minutes, oven time 2 hours, plus overnight soaking, cooling and 5 days feeding
A Dundee cake makes a lighter take on the traditional Christmas cake. It’s a less rich, crumblier alternative to the hefty traditional Christmas cake. To make it more indulgent (it is Christmas, after all), Debbie Major has added glacé cherries too.
Note: You’ll need to soak the dried fruit the night before you intend to bake.
If only a classic cake will do, try Mary Berry’s faultless rich fruit Christmas cake recipe.
- 19.4g (7.7g saturated)
- 8.1g protein
- 56.1g (33.3g sugars)
For the sponge
- 100g each raisins, currants and sultanas (300g in total)
- 100g red glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and halved
- 6 tbsp whisky
- Finely grated zest and juice 1⁄2 lemon and 1⁄2 small orange
- 150g butter, softened
- 150g light soft brown sugar
- 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 225g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2-3 tbsp milk, as necessary
- 25g lightly toasted blanched almonds, chopped
- 25g ground almonds
- 100g blanched whole almonds to decorate
You’ll also need
- Deep 20cm loose-bottomed round cake tin, greased and lined with compostable baking paper
- Extra paper and foil for wrapping
- Sheets of newspaper
- Cook’s string
- The night before you plan to bake, put the dried fruit, cherries, candied peel, 3 tbsp of the whisky, the citrus zest and juices in a bowl and stir. Cover and leave overnight (see Tips).
- The next day, tie a folded sheet of newspaper into a band, wrap it around the outside of the prepared tin, then tie with string. Fold another few sheets into a thick pad and put on a baking sheet. This helps stop the cake browning too quickly, as it’s in the oven for quite a long time.
- Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/ gas 3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg a little at a time, adding 1 tbsp flour after the second and third addition (see Tips). Sift over the remaining flour, baking powder and nutmeg, then fold in using a balloon whisk, adding a little milk if necessary to get a soft dropping consistency. Fold in the chopped and ground almonds, then the soaked fruit and any juices.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top with the back of a spoon. Decorate the cake with circles of blanched almonds, working from the outside edge inwards – press the almonds in very lightly as you don’t want them to sink during baking.
- Put the cake tin on the folded paper on the baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for about 2 hours or until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean (see Tips).
- Cool the cake in the tin for 30 minutes, then remove, put on a wire rack and leave until completely cold. Wrap the cake in a large sheet of compostable baking paper, then a layer of foil and store in an airtight tin (see Make Ahead).
- The day after baking, unwrap the cake, turn it over and prick the base with a fine skewer. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of the remaining whisky, then re-wrap it and return it to the tin. Repeat this feeding process twice, on day 3 and day 5 after baking. After that, either eat or wrap and leave to mature (see Make Ahead).
Soaking the dried fruit overnight plumps them up and also ensures your cake mixture doesn’t become overly wet, which would cause the fruit to sink during cooking.
Adding a little flour with the second and third egg helps prevent the cake mixture splitting during mixing.
The cake is in the oven for a long time. As well as protecting the underside and outside of the tin with folded newspaper, you might need to cover the top loosely with folded foil once it has a good colour.
Ovens vary so check the cake 10-15 minutes before the end of cooking, piercing in the centre with a skewer. It might take slightly less or more time to bake than stated. You want the cake to be cooked all the way through, but not for so long that it overcooks and dries out.
The cake tastes best with 3 weeks of maturing but it’s also good straightaway. It will keep for up to 6 weeks.
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