Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

If It's November, It Must be Dundee Time!

Dundee cakes are part of the holiday traditions at Linderhof.    Baked early in November so that they can age, we love them for December tea.

Mrs. Boland was our neighbor and landlady when I was a child.    She was English and I loved her accent!   She often had mother and myself over for afternoon tea.   I thought I was quite grown up, having tea with Mrs. Boland and mother.

Whenever we had tea with Mrs. Boland in December, often the treat would be a fruitcake which she called "Dundee Cake".    We each got a thin slice and it was, oh, so good with tea (even my mostly milk tea)!

In going through my mother's recipes after she passed away, I found a handwritten recipe for "Dundee Cake" from Mrs. Boland.    A notation on the recipe said that it was best made in early November so that the cakes could age in a cool place until St. Nicholas' Day (December 6).

And as a memory to Mrs. Boland, I've made them every year since.    And always on the first weekend in November.   I freeze them and get the first one out for my afternoon tea on December 6.

I love fruitcake and Dundee Cakes are "part" or "almost" fruitcake.    They have cherries and citron and raisins and almonds in them.    But, alas, they're white and not dark and not soaked in alcohol either.    Although I think that the "orange juice" part of the recipe was at one time probably brandy!    For Mrs. Boland was a teetotaler and so I suppose orange juice replaced the brandy in the recipe.

Last weekend found me in the kitchen with a package of candied cherries and citron, boxes of raisins and currants and reminiscing about my childhood and those Christmas teas that I shared at Mrs. Boland's.

And the Dundees?    They're for tea at Linderhof only . . . they absolutely do not make their way into any gift basket.    But I don't mind sharing a slice if you come to tea in December!

I like to bake the cakes in the small bread tins.

The Dundees with tops decorated -- all ready for the oven!

Mrs. Boland always made one big one which she sliced for tea.

All baked and cooling.

Cherries and almonds are the traditional decoration for Dundees.

A perfect little loaf -- to be wrapped and frozen.    It will make it's appearance on December 6, St. Nicholas Day, to tea.

Mrs. Boland's Dundee Cake

2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 T. fresh orange juice (I also add the zested peel)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. blanched chopped almonds
2 1/2 c. cake flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 c. raisins (I use a mixture of dark and golden)
1 1/2 c. currants (if I can't find them I just use 2 c. raisins -- one dark/one golden)
1/2 c. ctiron, chopped (I often use just candied orang peel)
1/2 c. candied cherries

Preheat oven to 275.    Grease and flour 2 41/2 x 9 inch loaf pans.   (I always use 4 small loaf pans)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, mixing well.   Add the eggs, one at a time, beating 5 mintues after each egg.    Stir in orange juice, vanilla and almonds (this is when I stir in the zest).

Sift eh flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl.    Add the fruit and mix by hand until well floured.   Add the fruit to the butter/sugar mixture and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.    Decorate with cherries and almonds in festive designs.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven.    Check with doneness with a toothpick or cake tester.

The little cakes take a lot less time -- I just watch and pull them when the toothpick comes out clean.

DO NOT OVERBAKE!    When the cakes are done, cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.    When cool, wrap in aluminum foil and freeze.


The Sewing and Knitting Loft said...

What a lovely memory. I know your Dundee cakes will be delicious and look forward to you slicing one. :)


Pondside said...

Oooh they look good.
I love a thin slice of fruit cake with a glass of dry sherry and a pot of tea. This year, for the first time, my mum won't be making her special Christmas fruit cake. I don't know if I'm up to it!

Mary said...

Do you have a recipe for it?

Bernideen said...

They are so pretty. I love tradition and making things so meaningful!

Blondie's Journal said...

They look delicious, Martha! What a wonderful tribute to Mrs. Boland to keep this as a tradition in your family!


my cup of tea said...

How wonderful to have those memories!
It makes those recipes even more important.

Carol at Serendipity said...

Look absolutely delicious. I was hoping you would share the recipe.

Martha said...

I've posted the recipe in my post -- I had meant to do that and got distracted -- sorry!

On Crooked Creek said...

What an adorable memory...thank you for sharing! I've been in the mood for baking...however; @ the present...I'm self~cleaning the oven! I'll put this in my file for upcoming holidays...mine might be given as gifts???

Nancy's Daily Dish said...

Mmm. I need a slice of this, or two, with my coffee. Looks and sound delicious!


Gisela said...

That's a beautiful story. I would have a hard time waiting to eat them until December though!