05 December, 2012

A Very Harry Christmas, Day 1: Dundee Cake

I decided that I wanted to do something super FUN this year for my 12 Days of Christmas.  Last year was alright, but they were all recipes I was used to...classics.  This summer my Mister got me the perfect gift...a cookbook called "The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook".  *squeeeeeeeeee!*  I was so excited...still AM!  All the recipes in this book are SO rich and sound SO scrummly, I just couldn't stand it.  I was going to use it for Thanksgiving dinner as well, but my energy levels got the better of me.  (Low iron; not for the faint of heart!)

So let's get started.  Fruitcake...the bain of of most bakers existence.  Everyone avoids it, no one wants it for a gift and some of it inevitably ends up in the trash.  Last year I made up my own recipe for it.  It turned out very well, but I still wasn't in love with it enough to make it more than just the ONCE a year.  Then, I came across a recipe in the HP Cookbook called "Dundee Cake (Fruitcake) for Kids".  I don't have to tell you, there is no alcohol in this cake, do I?  That's pretty much what makes it "for kids".  Most English fruitcakes tend to have brandy or some other such liquor in them.  But...just reading through the ingredient list!!....I was getting hopeful for a Christmas fruitcake miracle.  Orange zest, marmalade, cherries, cranberries, almonds...it SOUNDED great....  But how was it going to taste??

Dundee Cake (Fruitcake) for Kids
2 c. flour
½ c. finely ground almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1½ half sticks (12 tablespoons) butter
1½ c. sugar
2 large eggs
¼ tsp. almond extract
Juice & zest of 1 orange
¼ c. orange marmalade
1/4 c. apple juice,not from concentrate; no sugar added
½ c. dark raisins
½ c. golden raisins
½ c. currants or dried sweetened cranberries
¼ c. chopped cherries, optional (pat dry with paper towel)
Whole raw almonds for covering the cake

Preheat the oven to 300°F. 

Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep and set aside. Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until incorporated. Add the almond extract and beat until combined. Add the orange zest and juice and the marmalade and beat until combined. Add the apple juice and beat until combined. Stir in the flour mixture at the lowest speed until combined, scraping down the sides. Stir in the dark raisins, golden raisins, currants or cranberries, and cherries, if using.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Place the whole almonds in concentric circles on top of the cake. Bake for 1 hour; then reduce the temperature to 275°F and bake for another hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Seriously...it takes this long, don't freak out...)

Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan. When completely cool, invert the cake onto a cardboard round and immediately reinvert the cake onto a serving platter or another cardboard round. Store the cake at room temperature tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two weeks, but it is best eaten when fresh.

This is how it should look when it is done baking...


Mine didn't turn out that beautiful...when they tell you to use a cake pan that is 2 inches or higher for this cake, they aren't joking.  But for what my cake lacked in appearance the flavor, my GOODNESS, it made up for the ugly!!  

I added every single ingredient it called for, even the "optional" cherries...  It honestly is some of the most delicious fruitcake I've ever had.  Much brighter flavors, more cake-like and lighter than the fruitcake I made last year.  I will make this throughout the year, NO question.  It would be a wonderful tea time dessert year round, especially being that it "keeps" for up to 2 weeks as long as it is covered.  I have been nibbling on a slice the whole time I have been writing this post...partially the reason its taken me nearly an hour.

 Yep, that slice of Dundee is now in my belly...  It feels great!  Usually, fruitcake lands in my tummy like a BRICK.  This fruitcake felt like just enough and the citrus really perks it up.  

I can't wait for you to try this recipe and fall in love with it like my family.  The Mister had a slice last night and quite liked it.  He's not a fan of raisin, but he had to admit...it was some great fruitcake.

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