Well, we finally made it to Scotland. Epic journey if I do say so myself. We left London at just after midday and arrived in Currie (a little suburb 7 miles south west of Edinburgh) just before eleven at night. It seems that the world and his wife were on the road yesterday. It was so busy. We have rented a little room which will be our home for the next week and our base while we explore all that Scotland has to offer. As is starting to be my habit now, I baked before we left home. This time my inspiration came from remembering that the only baking competition that I have ever entered and won, was when I was the tender of age of 10 years and I made a fruit cake. So I do not have the original recipe but I thought that I would use my favourite recipe finder – Google – to rustle up a suitable one. It did not disappoint. In view the fact we were travelling North of the Border, I though I should make version appropriate to the destination. Google told me about Dundee cakes – traditional Scottish fruit cakes. These cakes are made with currants, sultanas and almonds. They have a distinctive topping made of almonds placed in concentric rings. I found a recipe online on the BBC Food website from the Hairy Bikers but I had make some modifications to reflect the ingredients that I actually had in my kitchen.

The final product was rather moist and little crumbly and a welcome little snack with a cup of hot tea after our 10 hour journey!

175g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
175g soft dark brown sugar
3 tbsp ginger preserve
3 free-range eggs, beaten
225g brown self-raising flour
25g ground almonds
1 heaped tsp ground mixed spice
330g raisins
70g sultanas
75g dried cranberries
3 tbsp brandy
40g/1½oz blanched almonds to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Grease and double-line a 20cm/8in loose-based deep cake tin with greaseproof paper.

2. Beat the butter and sugar in a food processor for 3-4 minutes, or until very light and fluffy.

3. Add the ginger preserve and mix for a few seconds more. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add the flour, almonds and spices to the batter. Mix slowly until well combined, then stir in the raisins, sultanas and cranberries with a large metal spoon. Add the brandy and mix until well combined.

5.Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, smooth the surface and carefully arrange the blanched almonds in circles on top.

6. Bake for 1½-2 hours, or until well risen, firm and golden-brown. (Test the cake by inserting a skewer into the centre. If the skewer comes out clean, the cake is done.)

7. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes then remove from the tin, peel off the lining paper and set aside to cool on a wire rack. Store in a cake tin and eat within 4-5 days.


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