Dundee cake is a Scottish light fruitcake. The story goes that it was originally made for Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century, but since she didn’t like cherries they were omitted and the top was decorated with concentric circles of almonds.
This version comes from the Official Downton Abbey Cookbook, If you look carefully you will occasionally see on camera on Downton Abbey at tea time or at the local fairs.
- 2 3/4 cups raisins
- 6 tbsp. whisky
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup demerara sugar firmly packed
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon ground
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg ground
- 1 cup almond flour plus 2 tbsp.
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade
- 2 medium oranges, finely zested
- 2/3 cup whole blanched almonds
- Put the raisins and whisky into a pan and heat over low heat, stirring once or twice, until hot, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to steep for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment.
- In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, spices and zest.
- Using a stand mixer (the dough will be stiff), cream the butter, sugar and salt together. Add the eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of flour on the first egg to stop the mixture from curdling. Mix well after each addition.
- Beat in the rest of the flour mixture until incorporated, Then stir in the raisin whisky mixture and marmalade. until evenly distributed.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of the spoon. Arrange the whole blanched almonds on top in concentric circles, with the pointed end of each nut directed towards the centre. Once you are happy with the arrangement, gently press the nuts into the batter so they will bake into the cake.
- Bake until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.
- Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then carefully turn out the cake, peel off the parchment, turn the cake upright, and serve.
- This is a fairly dense cake, that can be made a few days in advance and stored tightly covered at room temperature.