We are all spending more time at home these days, and I think it would be a very civilized idea to bring back afternoon tea. To take a moment in the day to sit down with a cup of tea (or coffee or lemonade) and a nice treat and relax, unwind and talk. After you wrap up your work from home or the school day. I have always had it in my mind that I would start inviting people over for a cup of tea and cake, but never really got around to it. Now, I can only do that virtually, but if you are at home with family or a bubble, why not give it a try. I’ve had this recipe for Dundee Cake in my files for a while, waiting for the right moment to post it, and this seems like a reasonable time. Dundee Cake is a traditional Scottish cake, and as far as I can discern, it was either created for Mary Queen of Scots, or by a marmalade company in 19th century Scotland. Choose whichever version of the story you prefer. It is sold commercially at grocery stores and bakeries in Great Britain, and I have had it served as part of a high tea. This is my version, redolent with dried fruit and just a whiff of allspice. It is traditional to put whole blanched almonds on the top in a decorative pattern and you may certainly do that. I find whole blanched almonds difficult to find and I feel they sort of get in the way.
Dundee cake isn’t overly sweet, so it is perfect for a snack. It is even delicious with cheese like Wensleydale or real cheddar. Even with a little butter on it. If you’d like to make it sweeter, you could add a powdered sugar glaze or some cream cheese frosting.
1 cup boiling water
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 Tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1 cup chopped dried pineapple
½ cup chopped dates
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray an 8-inch springform pan with baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Put the raisins in small bowl and pour over the boiling water. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to plump up, then drain off any water.
- Beat the butter and sugar together at medium high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the bowl, then add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat to thoroughly combine. Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and allspice at low speed, scraping down the bowl, until completely combined. Dump in the drained raisins, pineapple and dates and beat on low to distribute well and combine.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly, smoothing the top. Tap the pan on the countertop a few times to eliminate any air bubbles, then bake for 60 – 75 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then release the outer ring and transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely. Use the parchment paper to slide the cake off the bottom of the pan to a cake plate, then sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar.
- The cake will keep in an airtight container for several days.