Victorian Desserts – Dundee Cake

Around the time I was contemplating the delve into Victorian era baking, a dear friend went on a two week trip through the British Isles. She returned with two wonderful gifts: a book of puddings, and this lovely tea cloth. And according to this tea cloth, Dundee Cake is a traditional Victorian recipe from Scotland.

After doing some research far after I started collecting the ingredients, I discovered this was served more as a Christmas pudding. Well, obviously, now that I think about the ingredients. Though delicious, it was quite heavy for a warm spring day. I would recommend making it in the fall or winter months.

As this recipe calls for covering the cake in the oven, cooking in a rice cooker was ideal – not only for conserving power, but also for attaining the desired results. I left the steam vent on and cooked for the recommended time; it came out perfectly.

I made a few adjustments to the tea cloth recipe, adding 1/4c brandy to the fruits, adding less dried fruits, and using raisons instead of cherries. I was in the process of making glace cherries from scratch when baking this cake, and just used them in the Cabinet Pudding today, the recipe of which will soon follow.  The cake was still very rich and fruity, and even better the next day.  I would recommend making this cake a day in advance before serving.

Here are some images of the completed cake.  It went well with the cherry liqueur I made last year.  The final day I served the cake with a custard, which was also nice.

Candied Peel

The benefit of being sick for weeks is the loads of citrus that gets quickly used.  At least… this is what I realized the last week of my illness.  I’m not sure it would have been any better had I realized earlier, as in a very short amount of time the fridge was nearly full of peel.  Why would I be saving the peels?  Well, to make candied citrus peel for Victorian era sweets!

Premade candied peels and fruits are rather difficult to find in my area, so I gave the old recipe a try, tripling the volume of syrup to accomodate.  After reading up a bit on the process in Chocolate and Confections, this batch has turned out much better than the last.  The peels included lemon, mandarin orange, and amanatsu (sweet Watson pomello?).

After finally finding some finger cookies (as opposed to making stale ones from scratch), the last decision I have to make is whether or not to candy some cherries.  They’ve just begun to show their face in the market, after all.  The next recipe shall be Cabinet Pudding.