Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

Today’s post is a celebratory one. Since our son turned 14 yesterday. While enjoying everything about celebrating his birthday, from blowing up balloons, hanging fairy lights, presents, cards, seeing family. Aside from seeing his Auntie, he really looks forward to his birthday cake. Since he’s not a huge fan of icing, although he loves Christmas cake, after much discussion he decided on this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake topped with crunchy whole almonds.

Since he would happily eat Christmas cake every single day, this seemed to be a good compromise. Rather than soaking the dried fruit in an alcoholic concoction, as is needed for Christmas cake, this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake is easily made in one day. Although as much as I enjoy  making Christmas cake, usually with our son’s help, having it throughout the year, would make it less of a special event.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake packed full of flavour and dried fruits.

A Lighter Fruit Cake

Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake is a lighter fruit cake, filled with raisins, sultanas and in this recipe, glacé cherries. Because recipes differ I am unsure as to how authentic their addition is. However, in our home their presence in any fruit cake is a must. Alternatively, simply leave them out if you aren’t a fan and add more dried fruit.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake perfect for any celebration.

Since baking a fruit cake without spices allows the other flavours in the cake to come through. So, taking my first bite the freshness of the lemon hit with the warmth from the sherry, creating a deliciously moist cake. While the cherries and fruit add to the overall flavour, the almonds, in contrast, provide a delightful crunchy topping. Resulting in a perfectly balanced cake, both in flavour and texture.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

A single firework candle lit in the centre of this cake, creating a spectacular display that had our son enthralled. And when we cut the cake, his pleasure was clear to see. While devouring his first slice he had a big smile on his face. Thoroughly pleased with this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake for his birthday, this was most definitely a hit.  Most importantly, our son thoroughly enjoyed his birthday, it was indeed a true celebration.

Recipe: Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake serves 10-12

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter plus 1tbsp – at room temperature

225g/8oz Soft Light Brown Sugar I use – Billington’s

1/4tsp Salt I use – Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Extract I use – Nielsen-Massey

4 Large Free Range Eggs

300g/11oz Plain White Flour

4tsp Baking Powder

100g/4oz Ground Almonds

225g/8oz Sultanas

200g/7oz Raisins

200g/7oz Glacé Cherries cut half of the cherries in half and leave the remaining whole

1 Whole Lemon – scrubbed with a nail brush under hot water

2-3tbsps Sherry – alternatively replace with full fat milk

75g/3oz Whole Blanched Almonds

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.

Cake Tin Size And Preparation 

A 20cm/8″ diameter 10cm/4″ deep round cake tin is needed for this bake. Grease the tin with butter and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment. The sides of the parchment should be above the top of the tin by 3-4 inches. Cut a spare circle of parchment that fits the base. This may be used later to stop the cake from browning too quickly on the top.

Making The Fruit Cake Batter

  • First sift the flour together with the baking powder into a spare bowl.
  • Next in a large bowl add the softened butter, sugar and salt. Whisk these together until they are pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract, 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of sifted flour. Whisk for 30 seconds until just incorporated.
  • Repeat this process, adding an egg and 1 tablespoon of flour, whisking to mix, until all the eggs have been added.
  • Now add the remaining flour and ground almonds. Then add the sultanas, raisins and glacé cherries.
  • Grate the zest of the lemon directly into the bowl and then add its juice.
  • Finally add 2 tablespoons of sherry, or milk and using a large spoon fold all the ingredients together, adding another tablespoon of sherry/milk if the batter is too thick.
  • Spoon the lemon/sherry flavoured cake batter into the parchment lined cake tin, smoothing the top so that it is flat.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with 3 rings of blanched almonds – see the photos for guidance. Tip – lay the almonds flat on to the cake batter surface. I pushed them in a little and a couple were enveloped by the cake batter whilst baking.
FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Making the cake batter, filling the tin and decorating with almonds.

Baking The Dundee Cake

  • Place an ovenproof dish of water on the shelf underneath the middle shelf in the oven. This should ensure a flat, even top as the cake bakes.
  • Next put your cake tin into the middle of the oven and bake for 2 – 3 hours.
  • Check the cake after 1.5 hours baking. If the top is already golden, then place the spare circle of baking parchment on top of the cake. Because the cake still has a while to bake, this should stop the top from burning.
  • Once 2 hours baking time has elapsed, check to see if the cake is baked by inserting a skewer. The cake is baked when the removed skewer is clean. Should it have cake batter on it, the cake is not fully baked and needs more time in the oven.
  • Continue checking the cake at 15 minute intervals. As soon as the skewer comes out clean the cake is fully baked and can be removed from the oven.
  • Place the cake tin on a trivet or cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.
  • Leaving the cake to cool overnight is ideal.
  • When the cake is completely cooled turn it out from the tin and then carefully remove the baking parchment from the base and the sides.
  • Place on a board or cake stand.
FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake a beautifully baked fruit cake.

Serve the cake with a cup of tea, or a glass of something bubbly.

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake each bite is a celebration of good home baking.

Homemade cake is far superior in both taste and texture when compared to mass produced, shop bought alternatives. Any celebration, whether a birthday, anniversary, or family get together, will be richly enhanced, with the addition of a home baked cake.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake then you may also like these:

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake made to see in the New Year.

Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake made to celebrate Father’s Day

Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake

FF Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake
Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake made to celebrate my love of carrot cake!

While I enjoy baking cakes, getting together with family and friends is always a celebration when cake is present. Catching up over a slice of cake and a cup of tea can turn any event into a celebration, even if it is simply sharing with a neighbour.

Most of all, my long held belief that food shared, not only tastes better, it also somehow enriches the experience of eating. As a result our lives are made richer, purely by eating with others. A simple concept that can easily be achieved.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Homemade Chelsea Buns

Hi, so it’s mid November and the excitement for Christmas in our house is definitely building. We all love Christmas, even though we still have our daughter’s and my birthday to celebrate in December, before Christmas. These amazing Homemade Chelsea Buns are perfect for baking any time of the year, but especially in the run up to Christmas. The scent of cinnamon and bread, fills the house as these buns bake in the oven.

FF Homemade Chelsea Buns

I love the build up to Christmas. Stir up Sunday when we make our Christmas cake, advent calenders, present shopping, decorations. Spending time with friends and family, getting excited together.

As a family we all love each single thread that pulls together and makes a complete Christmas. The spicy scents, wafting from the kitchen, that evoke memories and shared experiences.

FF Homemade Chelsea Buns
Homemade Chelsea Buns

Creating a surprise

Our children and their parents, love these Homemade Chelsea Buns with a big mug of steaming coffee, or hot chocolate, for breakfast. Unravelling the light, spiced dough and uncovering juicy, plump, sweet, fruits. Sticky and sweet. Traditionally Chelsea Buns are finished with a sprinkle of sugar, however since discovering how good they taste with a lemon drizzle on top I wouldn’t want to make them any other way.

One of my favourite things to do at the weekend is to sneak downstairs, whilst everyone else is still asleep and make something scrumptious for breakfast. and that is exactly what I did a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t sleep, so I snuck into the kitchen, fuelled by hot cups of tea and baked these Homemade Chelsea Buns.

Everyone was so happy when they awoke to the scent of home cooking and found a big plate of warm buns, waiting to be devoured, on the table.

Unfortunately, due to the early morning light, the photos weren’t great. Shame eh? So I made these again during the day and they were gone by the following afternoon! Happily I had snapped some photos, before they were all munched.

FF Homemade Chelsea Buns
Homemade Chelsea Buns

I wouldn’t want you to limit making these only over the festive season. They are however, a wonderful warm up to full on Christmas cooking and baking.

Recipe: Makes 12 Homemade Chelsea Buns

For the buns

500g/1lb 2oz  Strong White Bread Flour

10g Fast Action Dried Yeas – I use Allinson Dried Yeast in the green tub or sachets

250ml/8fl oz Whole Milk – at room temperature

2 Large Free Range Eggs

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter

10g Salt

225g/8oz Dried Mixed Fruits – if you are not a fan of vine fruits, dried figs, dates, apricots and cranberries all work extremely well in this recipe.

100g/4oz Dark Brown Sugar or Soft Light Brown Sugar

4tsp Cinnamon

For the glaze

150g/5oz Icing Sugar

Juice of 1 Lemon

Method: You will need a buttered or baking parchment lined 10″ x 12″ baking tin at least 2” deep (25cm x 30cm x 5cm).

Making the bun dough

In the bowl of a bread maker or a stand mixer, with a dough hook attached, add the milk, lightly beaten egg, caster sugar and yeast.

Add the flour, salt and butter.

Switch the bread maker cycle to dough and press start.

With a stand mixer, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed until all the ingredients are combined. Continue mixing for a further 10 minutes. Turn the mixer off. Place all the dough into the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave until doubled in size – approximately 1-2 hours.

While the dough is proving mix the dried fruit, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set to one side.

Mix the dried fruit, sugar and cinnamon together.
Mix the dried fruit, sugar and cinnamon together.

When the bread maker has completed its dough cycle, restart for 2 minutes, to mix and knock back the dough.

With the stand mixer, once the dough has doubled in size, remove the cloth and turn out the dough on to a floured surface.

Shaping and filling the buns

  • Turn the bread out on to a floured surface and form into a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.


  • Roll the dough out into a rectangle 12” x 9” (30cm x 22.5cm)

Roll the dough out into a rectangle.


  • Spinkle over the spiced fruit and sugar mixture so that it evenly covers the dough.

Sprinkle over the fruit/sugar mixture.

  • Roll the dough up as tightly as possible.

Roll up the dough as tightly as possible.

  • Ensure that the seam is underneath.

Ensure the dough seam is underneath.

  • Cut the rolled dough into 12 even portions. I find the easiest way is to cut the dough in half, cut each half in half and then cut each portion into 3.

Slice the rolled dough into 12 even portions.

  • Place the buns into the buttered/lined baking tin.

Pack the Chelsea Buns into a buttered pan.

Cover with a clean cloth, leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – approximately 30-45 minutes.

FF Homemade Chelsea Buns

Baking the buns and adding the lemon drizzle

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan, 10 minutes before the buns are ready
  • Place the tin in the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • The buns are cooked when they are golden and well risen.
  • As soon as the buns are baked remove from the oven.
  • Lift the baked buns out of the tin or use a pallet knife to loosen and lift the buns from the tin.
  • Place on to a cooling rack.
FF Homemade Chelsea Buns
Homemade Chelsea Buns
  • Weigh the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Stir briefly with a balloon whisk to break up any lumps.
  • Add the juice from one lemon.
  • Whisk the mixture together until it is smooth.
  • Either fill a small piping bag with the lemon icing, snip a small hole and pipe the drizzle diagonally across the buns, or use a spoon to drizzle over the icing.
FF Homemade Chelsea Buns
Homemade Chelsea Buns with a lemon icing drizzle.

Time to delve in and devour a bun. They are absolutely delicious warm. Whether it’s a family breakfast around the table, or after a long afternoon walk, these Homemade Chelsea Buns are perfect at any time!

These buns are at their best the day they are made. However a quick and I mean less than 10 seconds, ping in the microwave refreshes them the following day.

If you enjoyed baking these Homemade Chelsea Buns, you may also like:

Knotted Poppyseed Rolls

FF Knotted Poppyseed Rolls
Knotted Poppyseed Rolls

English Muffins

FF English Muffins
English Muffins

Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns

FF Homemade Chelsea Buns
Sticky Pecan Sultana Buns

Creating memories and new traditions is important to me. Food plays a crucial part in that. As we sit round the table for dinner, in front of the telly with snacks, or at the beach with a well packed picnic I am always aware that these will be the times we remember. One special memory, is of a bonfire night, spent with my sister and her family, toasting s’mores around the fire and laughing. That is when feasting truly is fun!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.


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