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Dundee Cake Competition

31 August 2015

As part of the Dundee Flower and Food Festival – which runs from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 September – there will once again be a delectable Dundee Cake Competition!

Dundee Cake is a distinctive fruit cake, studded with sweet sultanas, flavoured with Seville oranges and decorated with whole blanched almonds which give it its distinctive look.

Because it is so unique, plans are afoot to ensure the recipe achieves the same protected geographical indication (PGI) status that products such as Champagne, Cornish Pasties and Arbroath Smokies enjoy.

In fact, the definitive Dundee Cake recipe has already been submitted for approval, and it was our fantastic food innovation team – Food Innovation @ Abertay – who were behind determining what it would be, so we thought now would be a good time to let everyone know what they did!

Starting with a matrix of 30 recipes – which spanned from the 1800s to the present day – they were able to determine the common ingredients down the decades and create a historically accurate base recipe.

This included recipes from prominent Dundee bakers’ archives, in particular the famous Keiller family.

To reflect the changes in ingredients that have taken place over the years – due to wartime shortages, public taste and bakers’ personal preferences – the tolerances of ingredients within the base recipe were then modified to create three different forms of the cake for the public to try.

Dundee Cake testing

The team then conducted taste trials with over 400 Dundonians – including Desperate Dan – down in City Square so that their preferences could be used to decide which recipe would go forward in the application.

The Dundee Cake Competition this weekend follows our food innovators advice, stipulating that the following ingredients only may be used in the production of a traditional Dundee Cake:

  • Salted butter
  • Sugar - caster, granulated, soft brown or dark soft
  • Free range eggs
  • Thick peel Seville oranges (concentrated or other - minimum 5%)
  • Finely grated orange zest (minimum 1%)
  • Plain cake flour
  • Sultanas (minimum 27%)
  • Whole blanched almonds (minimum 3%)
  • Sherry (optional)
  • Ground almonds (optional)
  • Split almonds (optional alternative for non-circular cakes)
  • Citric Acid (preservative)

They must also be added in a very particular order!

Anyone who would like to enter the competition can find the full details on the Dundee Flower and Food Festival website.

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