What do you do when
- You read Nora Roberts and want to take a porktey to county Clare
- The female protagonist bakes up a Dundee Cake for tea and stop everything to read up all about it. You desperately want to bake this Scottish Christmas favourite, but have none of ingredients- whiskey, ground almonds, all-purpose flour, candied peel, marmalade – that go into the making of one
- An old friend who dispenses the best life/career advice ever comes to town and you have promised to bake for her
- You have at your disposal some oranges, dried fruits and cane sugar, and exactly 90 minutes from start to putting the cake into a box to carry
Here’s what I did
- Adapt from a previous attempt at whole wheat cake
- Be a headless chicken in the kitchen grinding cinnamon, squeezing orange juice, deskinning almonds, sieving flour, running around
- Swear colourfully on burning my thumb blanching almonds
- Sigh with delight when this beautiful thing emerges from the oven
This.is.it. This pile of soft crumbs is screaming to be baked. It is so good looking that I hurt my heart (and my burnt hand) to cut it up. It is so delicious that I wish I could have every single one of you taste a slice. As I finish the last of it tomorrow, I shall shed a tear.
I urge you – please bake this
Ingredients: 100 gm butter, 135 gm cane sugar, 2 tbsp honey (increase if you like your cakes sweet), 2 tbsp orange juice, ¼ cup yoghurt, 2 eggs, zest of 1 orange, 1 tsp each of vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, dried ginger powder, and baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, 175 gm of whole wheat flour, two handfuls of dried fruits (I used a mix of chopped dates, cranberries, raisins, black sultanas, figs), enough almonds to cover the surface of a cake (I guesstimated this by dumping the almonds into the empty baking tin)
- Blanch almonds by placing them in boiling hot water (for about a minute). Put them back in cold water for a few seconds and rinse. Pat dry and deskin
- Soften the butter using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, for thirty second or so. Add the cane sugar and cream it
- Add the other liquids – orange juice, honey and yoghurt and whizz some more. Periodically, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Batter shall resemble baby puke, do not be alarmed, it is the yogurt.
- Add the eggs one by one, mixing in between. Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix. Follow with the cinnamon powder and dry ginger powder. Mix.
- Add the baking soda and baking powder to the flour and sieve manically as many times as you can. I think I sieved 6-7 times. This is the secret sauce, so don’t skip the sieving!
- Add the dry mix to the wet, slowly. Mix till it beautifully comes together into this golden coloured batter. This shall take barely a minute on a low setting.
- Gently fold in the dry fruits by hand
- Pour batter into a pre-greased 8 inch pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 c