Interest in the tea rituals of Downton Abbey and the runaway success of the BBC Great British Bake-Off series has spurred a resurrection of Victorian recipes, including one of my favorites – Dundee Cake.
Named for a city on the western coast of Scotland (where I spent one of the coldest nights of my life in May 1979), Dundee Cake originated in 19th century Scotland and was originally a mass-produced cake made by the Keiller Marmalade Company.
The company’s promotion of Dundee Cakes made with Keiller marmalade must have certainly spurred sales because their signature crock jars are still found in antique stores across the British Isles and North America.
When the Elmwood Inn Tearoom opened in 1990, I made countless Dundee Cakes for our winter teas. The recipe resembles a fruitcake and the hardest task is sorting out enough perfect almond slices to decorate the top.
This version is moist and rich with hints of marmalade that will remind you of your last visit to a Scottish tearoom. It keeps well – especially if you sprinkle a bit of brandy over the top before storing in an airtight tin.
Dundee Cake Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
½ cup orange marmalade
16 ounces mixed candied fruits
1 cup golden raisins
½ cup blanched almonds
1 egg white, slightly beaten
¼ cup orange juice flavored with brandy
Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease a 2-inch-deep 8-inch cake pan and line it with waxed paper. Sift together flour and baking powder into a medium-size bowl. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then marmalade. Gently fold in flour mixture. Stir in dried fruits and orange juice, mixing well. Pour into cake pan.
Arrange almonds in a circular pattern around the top. Brush with egg white. Bake at 300° F for 2-1/2 hours or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan about one hour. Turn onto a wire rack. Serves 12-14 guests.
See more authentic teatime recipes in A Year of Tea at the Elmwood Inn.