Mini Dundee cakes
- November 2020
- Makes 4 cakes
- Hands-on time 45 min, oven time 1 hour, plus overnight soaking, cooling and 5 days feeding
These light, crumbly mini Dundee cakes with burnished hazelnut marzipan crown give the classic Christmas cake a makeover. A lighter, less rich, but equally festive alternative to the hefty traditional Christmas cake, these little beauties also make great gifts.
Or, try our gluten, wheat and dairy-free Christmas fruit cake.
- 89g fat (25g saturated)
- 29.2g protein
- 214.4g carbs (158.2g sugars)
- 12.1g fibre
- 1.7g salt
- 100g raisins
- 100g currants
- 100g sultanas
- 200g mixed chopped candied peel
- 6-7 tbsp whisky
- Finely grated zest and juice 1 small orange
- 150g butter, softened
- 150g light soft brown sugar
- 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 225g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2-3 tbsp milk, as necessary
- 25g ground hazelnuts
For the burnished hazelnut marzipan
- 200g whole skinned hazelnuts
- 150g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1 medium free-range egg white (see tip)
- 3 tbsp no-peel orange marmalade
- Whole skinned hazelnuts (optional)
- Festive ribbon and cellophane for wrapping (if baking to give as a gift)
You’ll also need
4 x 10cm or 15cm loose-bottomed, deep round cake tins, greased and lined with compostable baking paper, plus extra paper and foil for wrapping; sheets of newspaper; cook’s string; cook’s blowtorch
- The night before, mix the dried fruit, peel, 3 tbsp of the whisky and the orange zest and juice in a bowl, then cover. Soak overnight (see Tips below).
- 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. 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 ground hazelnuts, then the whisky-soaked fruit and any juices. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins. Bake in the centre of the oven for about an hour or until a skewer pushed into the centre of each cake comes out clean.
- Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 30 minutes, then remove from the tins, put on a wire rack and leave until completely cold. Wrap the cakes in compostable baking paper, then foil. Store in an airtight tin until you’re ready to decorate the cakes, feeding them with whisky over the first 5 days (see Tip below).
- For the marzipan, put the 200g skinned hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse to grind finely. Add the icing sugar and process once more until the nuts are very finely ground. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy, then add the sugary ground nuts a little at a time until the mixture comes together into a ball and becomes smooth and malleable but not overly wet and sticky. Turn the mixture out onto a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and knead until extra smooth.
- Divide into 4 equal pieces, knead each into a round, then roll out to 10cm or 15cm discs, according to the size of your tins. Trim the edges neatly with a sharp knife, using a small upturned saucer or dish as a template. Reserve the trimmings.
- Put the no–peel marmalade in a small pan with 1 tbsp cold water and heat gently over a low heat. Brush the top of each cake with the glaze (you may need to trim the cakes first to get a flat top) and cover with discs of marzipan. Crimp the edges attractively with your fingers. Re-knead and roll the marzipan trimmings, then cut out small holly-leaf shapes. Brush one side of each leaf with glaze and use to decorate the tops of each cake. Using a blowtorch, carefully burnish the marzipan. If you’re adding whole hazelnuts to decorate, dip the base of each in the glaze first.
- If you’re giving the cakes as gifts, you could tie a festive ribbon around each, then wrap in cellophane, tying it in place at the top with more ribbon. Otherwise, devour with joy!
Lightly whisk, then freeze the unused egg yolk to use in another recipe.
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.
Ovens vary so check the cakes 5 minutes before the end of cooking, piercing in their centre with a skewer. They might take slightly less or more time to bake than stated. You want the cakes to be cooked all the way through, but not for so long that they overcook and dry out.
Any combination of sultanas, currants, raisins, mixed peel, dried cranberries, blueberries and dried cherries will work, as long as the overall weight is 500g.
Using dark soft brown or muscovado sugar will give your cake a slightly darker colour.
You could use brandy instead of whisky if you prefer.
Add a little mixed spice and/or vanilla bean paste to the basic cake mixture if you like.
Make the cakes at least 3 weeks before you’re planning to eat them. They’ll keep for up to 6 weeks.
To feed the cakes: The day after baking, unwrap the cakes, turn them over and prick the bases with a fine skewer. Drizzle 1 tsp of the remaining whisky over each, then re-wrap and return them to the tin. Repeat this feeding process twice, on day 3 and day 5 after baking.
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