Dundee Cake For Christmas

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This year instead of the traditional iced Christmas Cake I have decided to make Dundee Cake.  It is still a rich fruit cake, but instead of using marzipan and royal icing to cover it there is just a layer of blanched almonds laid in circles on the top.

This is a traditional cake too and tastes so good.  For mine I included some marmalade, and in my case it was Dundee marmalade.  Marmalade originates from Dundee so it is ideal to be included in the cake.  

Full of dried fruits, sultanas, raisins, currants, chopped mixed peel and cherries, as well as the addition of ground almonds this is a very easy cake to make, though it does take a while to bake.  But the wait is worth it for such a rich, flavoursome cake.  

Once baked the cake should, ideally, be left for at least two days(wrapped and in an airtight container) for at least a couple of days to allow the flavours to fully develop.  But it can also be stored for at least six weeks if wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed in an airtight container.  So now is a great time to bake it, in advance of eating at Christmas.

Baked in a greased and lined tin this cake should not be over-mixed or it will rise too much in the centre.  One method of preventing, or limiting, that rise is to line the outside of the cake tin with a double layer of paper, tied tightly to the tin.  You can actually buy baking strips that you soak and then place on the outside of the tin which work well too.  They have the effect of stopping the outside of the cake baking faster than the centre.  The use of such items may affect the baking time a little, so be aware of that.

If as the cake bakes it looks to be browning too much covering it loosely with some aluminium foil will stop the excess browning.

Once baked the cake is brushed with a little sugar and milk syrup and then baked for a further three minutes.  Then, once cooled it can be turned out and stored until needed.

Dundee Cake
Dundee Cake – Video


  • 180g(1 1/2sticks)softened unsalted butter
  • 180g(7/8 cup) soft brown sugar(although caster or granulated would be ok too)
  • 225g(1 3/4 cups) plain flour
  • 100g(1 cup) ground almonds
  • 3 large eggs(xl in USA), beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp(75g) marmalade or apricot jam
  • Zest from one orange
  • 400g (14 oz)of dried fruits(I used sultanas, raisins and currants)
  • 100g(3.5 oz) chopped mixed peel
  • 100g(3.5 oz) glace cherries, halved
  • 30ml(2 tbsp) milk
  • 100g blanched almonds(almonds without the skin)
  • Hot black tea, or water, or some whisky to soak the dried fruits
  • 1 tbsp milk for the glaze
  • 2 tsp caster sugar for the glaze


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/ 350 F.
  2. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a deep, loose bottomed cake tin, 8 inches or 7 inches in diameter, depending on how deep.  Either will be fine.
  3. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy( I used my hand mixer but by hand is quite easy too).
  4. Slowly add the beaten eggs and whisk to combine, using a little flour if the mixture begins to separate.
  5. Add the orange zest and the marmalade and mix until combined.
  6. Mix the flour, baking powder and ground almonds together and add to the batter, mixing slowly until just combined.
  7. Add the milk and mix until combined.
  8. Add all the fruits and gently stir in until mixed through the batter.
  9. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and level off using the back of a spoon.
  10. Gently drop the blanched almonds onto the top, in concentric circles.  Don’t press them down or they will disappear during baking as the batter rises.
  11. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  Then reduce the heat of the oven to 160C/140C Fan/320F and bake for a further 60 to 80 minutes.  Test the cake every ten minutes after 40 mins of that 60 – 80.  As soon as a skewer comes out cleanly remove the cake from the oven.
  12. Heat the milk and sugar for the glaze in a pan until the sugar is dissolved.
  13. Brush the syrup onto the top of the cake and bake for a further 3 minutes.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin before turning out.
  15. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container for at least 2 days before serving.  It will keep for at least 6 weeks as long as it is stored like that, so is ideal for making in advance of Christmas.


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