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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Serving The Fruit Cake
- 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.
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:
Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble 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.
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10 thoughts on “Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake”
Hi, how long can you store this cake as I will be baking early for Christmas, looks delicious.
Hi Kathy, I would recommend double wrapping with cling film and keeping in an airtight container for no longer than a week. I haven’t tested how long an uncut cake can be stored for. I’d love to know how early you made it and then stored it for last year? Sammie x
Your blog is lovely.
Why it takes 3 hours to bake the Dundee fruit cake ? Any tips to reduce the baking time .
Thank you Silvie. The baking time is 2-3 hours, this is because it is baked on a low heat to give an even rise. You could increase the oven temperature, however by going so you risk certain things; a doomed cake that cracks, the outside being over cooked whilst the centre is still raw and an uneven bake. My advice is to stick to the time and temperature given, simply pick a morning or afternoon when you don’t have much on. I hope this helps xx.
Thank you Gayle for your lovely comment. This was certainly a massive hit here, at home, with requests for more! So pleased you enjoy it so much. X
A beautiful cake! A lighter alternative to Christmas cake, full of fruit, slightly boozy and very moist – love it! Will definitely become a favourite ❤️ xx
This cake should be gracing the cover of a beautiful Cake Recipe book by Sammie.I love all of her bakes so much so I made her Double Chocolate Chip loaf and then followed her recipe she used when making her Snowflake cake in a NordicWare bundt pan.I used the Pine Forest pan which resulted in not only a Fab looking cake but also a delicious moist vanilla cake.A big hit with my family.I shall be making this fruit cake for Christmas.If we can wait that long…xx
Thank you so much Pam. I create recipes to share and love it when others enjoy following them and achieve stunning results. Both of your cakes looked beautiful on Twitter. I’m very honoured that you trusted my recipes. Xxx
I love a good fruit cake, this looks heavenly! Love the sound of more muted spices so that the lovely lemon and cherries shine through!
Thank you Isabella. I started off following a recipe but altered it so much the cake I made bore no resemblance to the original recipe. It’s has a delicious flavour.