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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Mrs. Boland, Winston Churchill and Dundee Cake

Dundee Cakes are a tradition at Linderhof

Because for five years we lived across the hall
from Mrs. Boland
She was our landlady and friend
and since she was an older lady,
even Mother called her "Mrs. Boland"
rather than by her first name.

She was English
and always had a "cuppa" in the afternoon
With a nosh

Mother was a new bride when she moved into the apartment
owned by Mrs. Boland and her husband Charlie

When Mother had a cooking question,
she asked Mrs. Boland

And sometimes we would go across the hall
for tea.

We have several of Mrs. Boland's recipes
And one of them is Dundee Cake

Every year in early November,
I make them
Mrs. Boland's recipe makes one loaf

But I prefer to use my mini pans and make 4 small ones

A small one is a perfect size for tea
for one or two or even four!

 Slices showing the raisins and currants and the cherries

It is a fruitcake of sorts
But Mrs. Boland just had currants, raisins and cherries

Decorated with more cherries -- glace cherries
Not maraschino ones.

Everyone has a birthday saint
and mine is

Saint Nicholas
(for I was born on St. Nicholas  Eve)

I've always been partial to St. Nicholas
And so to celebrate his day, we have our first Dundee cake for tea that afternoon

And our St. Nicholas Teas Throughout the Year:

In the breakfast room, Christmas china and silver tea service --
it is a special tea, after all!

Tea for two in the living room
Christmas china, a silver bread tray holding the Dundee cake, and the Christmas china

Poinsettias make a great centerpiece for a St. Nicholas Tea
with the silver teapot and the Christmas china.

BG*, we used our breakfast room for casual meals during December
AG* it holds the Magical City of Scott
(BG - before grandchildren/AG - after grandchildren)

Another St. Nichols Tea in the breakfast room
with the Christmas China and the Dundee Cake on a favorite Christmas serving plate

How does Winston Churchill fit into all of this?

Well, we got to meet Sir Winston in March
(really Randy Otto who is a Churchill reenacter -- but meeting him
you feel as if you had met Churchill himself!)

And he mentioned that one of Sir Winston's favorite tea treats was Dundee Cake
And I told him that I made them every year for St. Nicholas Day
He was amazed that someone in a little town in Kansas not only knew what a 
Dundee cake was but actually made them!
I said that I would send him one when I made them this fall!

And I did --
make them
And sent him one

This week I got this note from Randy:

I am sharing the precious Dundee morsels with Jonathan Sandys (Churchill’s great-grandson) his mother, sister & nieces.
...and it has created a terrible problem for me personally...they tell me that I MUST bring your Dundee cake whenever I visit.
What do you say to a Churchill?

Imagine -- a Churchill ate my Dundee Cake!
And they approved!!!!

And it appears that the Churchill family will be on my Christmas list from now on
with a Christmas gift of a Dundee cake!

How thrilled am I!

And I thank Mrs. Boland for giving Mother the recipe all those years ago.

I did make some changes -- mostly because of difficulty in buying ingredients here.

It's a wonderful cake and it is our first fruitcake of the Christmas season
And it's a perfect tea cake!

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 rarely use this because it is hard to get here)
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 the 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.



KitsyKeelSmith said...

I love fruitcake so must try your special recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Connie said...

That is quite the compliment indeed, Martha! The cake sounds and looks delicious!

Pat said...

What an interesting story, with an outstanding ending. Thank you for sharing!

Sharon said...

I love all things English and your cake has been included in lots of the reading I do set In England. I will definitely be trying this!