Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My style Dundee/Mixed Fruit Cake....indulgence without guilt!

"Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words."

And for us cooks/bakers, when even buying gifts isn't enough..we put our love into our cooking/baking. The joy in my heart and the love for my beloved is poured with care, into this Dundee cake of mine...and his loving reciprocation in the mm..hmm...yum...sounds he makes after devouring it, allows me to have the satisfaction of a job well done. Loves' labours' not lost..but won!!

Although I do not like to clip/chip off the authentic traditional recipes...I am all for healthy eating, so will cut corners (if I can) on the fats and sugars used in the original without giving up much on the flavour or texture of the final product. And oh yes, did I mention I am bought by the simplicity and ease of a recipe. Hence, most of the recipes you find here, will be simple and relatively easy and are prepared in far less time than their original counterparts. (wink wink)

The origins of Dundee Cake are thought to date back to a time when fruit cake was popular during the 19th century and Keiller's of Dundee sold a version of the cake but with almonds on top. This gave the fruit cake a new distinctive look and flavour and was named Dundee Cake.

This is a really good fruit cake for those who don't like the heavy, rich sort. It does have an excellent flavour and crumbly texture. It's said a large cake should be stored for a week before eating to improve the flavour...well patience in not one of my virtues!

At an unknown date towards the end of the 17th century, Janet Keiller bought going cheap a load of oranges from a ship forced to dock in Dundee harbour due to bad weather. With sugar from her husband'’s grocery business she cannily turned the fruit into marmalade, which she then sold through Mr. Keiller's store. Mrs. Keiller's marmalade proved to be a great success, and in Dundee in 1797 a full-time business was established producing marmalade, and also eventually producing jams, confectionery and Dundee cakes. Keiller's quickly evolved into large-scale food producer, with the work-force and equipment to produce other goods alongside the marmalade.
Dundee cake was first made by Keiller's at some point in the 19th century. They cannot take the credit for the recipe, as similar fruit cakes were made across Scotland, but they were able to produce cakes commercially which then sold across the globe as 'Dundee cake'. The use of almonds on top, to decorate the cake in a distinctive way, was probably just a marketing ploy to ensure product individuality. For Keiller's cake making was also a clever way of ensuring the factory workers were kept busy when oranges were out of season, and to use up any left-over peel.

My style Dundee/Mixed Fruit Cake
2 over ripe bananas, mashed ( in place of butter)
1 cup + 2 tbsp honey ( in place of sugar; you can use molasses too if desired)
3 large eggs, beaten ( u can add two more mashed bananas + one extra pinch of baking powder & one pinch of baking soda instead)
1 cup all purpose flour + extra flour for dusting
1 cup whole wheat bread/pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tbsp ground almonds
1/2 cup chopped blanced almonds
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup chopped glace cherries
1/2 cup chopped mixed fruit peel
2 tsp finely grated zest of lemon and orange (one tsp each)
1 tsp of lemon juice/orange juice
3-4 tbsp whisky/rum/brandy

(my extra additions, optional)-
1/4 cup chopped strawberries/cranberries
1/4 cup chopped fresh/preserved mangoes
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cashew nuts, chopped


Sift both the whole wheat and all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and spice into a bowl, set aside.
Put all the fruit, including the grated lemon and orange zest(except the bananas), into another bowl. Dust with enough flour to coat all the fruits and peels.
Tip: This prevents the fruits from sticking to one another and forming lumps.

Now in a big bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, orange/lemon juice and your choice of alcohol together.
Add the mashed bananas.
Fold in the dry ingredients to the above (whisked) mixture.
Spoon the batter out in your cake mould and bake in microwave for 8-10 minutes.
Note: The batter would be a little liquidy, thus will take a little longer to cook. And if you are not using will take even longer,so be patient and keep checking. :)

(If you want the temperature settings/timings for a conventional oven, please do get in touch.)

Once done, check with toothpick in the centre of the cake,if it comes out clean, its done.
Cool. Decorate or simply cut and store them in air tight containers..or better still...EAT! :)

There is a legend connected to Dundee cake which talks about Mary Queen of Scotland.

The story goes that Mary didn'’t like cherries in her fruit cake, and so a Scottish baker came up with a special recipe which didn't include them. This a 'genuine' Dundee cake should therefore not include cherries.
However almost all the recipes that I have seen include them..its all about flavour and your choices...'coz its your cake!

So you will not find the decoration of blanched almonds in my version, instead tiny dollops of whipped cream and to add to the richness, a whole lot of fruits (and ofcourse chocolate) go in, making this cake healthier ( and yummier) than it already is !

Wising all a Merry Christmas and joys untold for this Yuletide season !! Live, Love, Laugh... !

I share this with -

A dear friend, Sangeeth for her Eat Healthy-during Pregnancy event, as this dish is filled with health,(with all the fruits n sans fat). :)


  1. utterly delicious!!!!!!!!!!
    Merry Christmas dear...

  2. Very Very Pretty!! What timing.. I made my Rum Fruit cake & posted today.
    Merry Christmas to u & your family!

  3. That is really interesting! Love the mango and cranberry in there.

  4. I love recieving baked gifts from family at Christmas time! Your cake looks so perfect and delicious, your loved ones must be so happy and full :)

  5. Merry Christmas, dear :)

  6. Delicious fruity cake,Happy holidays:)

  7. Hi Ode2Food..yes I had to restrain from adding just love fruits n my house is always well stocked with them :)

    Meeso..darling I would love to gift it to u too...come over!

    Merry Christmas Maryann & Yasmeen. :)

  8. Lovely rendition of this so famous cake! I am not a fan of the classic fruit cake but I would enjoy your lighter version... those pictures are beautiful!
    Happy holidays!

  9. Happy Holidays Navita! This is lovely! Would love you to share this recipe with us over at foodista! Cheers!

  10. Happy Holidays! This cake looks very different and delicious. The history behind is interesting. I may try it sometime.

    I'm impressed with your knowledge of the Turkish words(under your award):) You're very welcome.

  11. Thanks Foodista.

    *blush* Mediterranean Turkish Cook...just a small attempt to keep learning the one of the three magic words-thank you!

  12. I love all of the history you've included here! This cake looks fantastic! You are such an awesome baker, yummy!

  13. *blush* Thanks amatuer baker just trying to improve :)

  14. Wow..thats one yum fruit cake, we had rum fruit cake few days back, a home-made one, gifted by a friend and can imagine the lovely taste it has! Tks for sharing n thks for visiting me..adding you on my reader to get regular updates! :D HAPPY NEW YEAR to you! Glad to have found your lovely blog (loved those malpuas too!)

  15. Happy new year to u too dear! :)n thanks for adding me to ur roll.

  16. i have gone through this blog. i found it very interesting and helpful. nowadays i am working from my home and this blog really doing great for me.

    work from home


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