It was our son’s 14th birthday yesterday. He loves everything about celebrating his birthday, from blowing up balloons, hanging fairy lights, presents, cards, seeing family. Yet the thing he most looks forward to is his birthday cake. Not being a huge fan of icing, yet loving Christmas cake, after much discussion he decided on this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake.
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. Much as I love making Christmas cake, usually with our son’s help, having it throughout the year, would make it less of a special event.
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake is a lighter fruit cake, filled with raisins, sultanas and in this recipe, glacé cherries. Recipes differ and I’m unsure as to how authentic their addition is. In our home their presence in any fruit cake is a must. Should you disagree, simply leave them out and add more dried fruit.
The beauty of having a fruit cake without spices, is that the other flavours in the cake come through really well. On taking my first bite the freshness of the lemon added to the warmth of 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.
One firework candle was lit in the centre of this cake, providing a spectacular display that had our son enthralled. Once cut, 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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Since this Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake is such a beautiful cake, placing it on a cake stand really does show it off.
Serve the cake with a cup of tea, or a glass of something bubbly.
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:
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.