I have been thinking about the Queen this week.
My mother Mary Elizabeth was born just two weeks after Queen Elizabeth II was born, so Mom sort of felt like she “grew up” with the Queen. She loved following her and considered her a friend, a peer — a special person that she could identify with.
Mike and I loved watching the TV series, “The Crown,” and I would ask Mom if that was really the way she saw the Queen, or what she thought of Phillip at that time. Of course, when Elizabeth became Queen at age 25, Mom was also 25 and had a young family, too.
Yesterday I made several Dundee Cakes to share with my granddaughters as we have tea to celebrate the Queen. I know Dundee Cake was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth for teatime.
Mike and I first learned about Dundee Cakes a couple of years ago when we were watching a movie about Winston Churchill. Churchill was upset because his wife Clementine had not bought him his favorite cake for teatime — a Scottish Dundee Cake. I looked through many recipes to find out what a Scottish Dundee Cake was. It’s a little like a fruitcake but it is made with raisins and orange marmalade, and topped with circles of almonds.
The cake became popular in the mid-19th century when Keiller’s, a marmalade company that made marmalade from the bitter Seville oranges that came into the port of Dundee, Scotland, from Spain, mass-produced the fruitcake.
Mike loves this cake. I like to bake it in an 8-inch cookie tin and keep it in the fridge and cut slivers off of it to have with tea or coffee. This time, I am sending one tin to my granddaughters at school, and one to a friend. There’s one in our fridge, too, and we will eat our cake with tea in memory of Queen Elizabeth.
3/4 cup soft butter (1 ½ sticks)
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
Zest of one orange (plus some very thin strips of peel)
5 Tablespoons Seville orange marmalade
1 ½ cups flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups golden raisins (sultanas)
1 ¼ cups raisins
20 whole almonds (blanched)*
*(To blanche: put in boiling water and let them soak for one minute. Drain the almonds and the skins should slip off easily.)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Grease and line an 8 inch cake pan. (Or spray an 8 inch cookie tin with cooking spray.)
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the orange zest and marmalade and beat until combined. Stir together the dry ingredients, and stir gently into the wet mixture. (Don’t overmix.) Stir in the raisins.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level off. Arrange the almonds on top of the cake in concentric circles.
Bake about 70 minutes (toothpick inserted should come out clean). Place on a rack to cool.