Dundee Cake -- Perfect With Tea
Dundee Cake, like most beloved food products, has its share of colorful origin stories and creation myths. The popular legend is that, in the 16th Century, Mary Queen of Scots
, didn't like cherries in her fruitcake, and so bakers scrambled to come up with a suitable substitute for what was a standard ingredient at the time. Thus they arrived at a cake using raisins, currants, orange peel and blanched almonds. Most recipes now call for optional candied cherries as well, so the Queen's tastes didn't override popular preference. The cake became commercially popularized in the mid 19th Century when Keiller's, a marmalade company from Dundee, mass produced the fruitcake with its distinctive arrangement of concentric circles of almonds studded on the cake's top. Dundee Cake
is now considered to be an essential part of the Scottish tea table and it's served at christenings, birthdays and other celebrations. Though Dundee Cake is made at practically every bakery throughout Scotland, there remains an element of national pride surrounding the cake. And, for those who may have never had Dundee Cake, a distinction should be made between it and American-style fruitcake, which is overly sweet, sticky-moist, filled with mysterious pieces of candied fruit and seemingly designed to last forever. Needless to say, the proud Scots don't want Pillsbury to come out with a fluffy American version of Dundee Cake manufactured in Ohio. Proper Dundee Cake is drier, made without preservatives, packed in a tin to prevent it from drying out and filled with bits of real recognizable fruit. This is real food with a sense of history and place, perfect for family celebrations or just to have at tea time.