L.M.Reid creates delicious recipes and gives step-by-step instructions with her own photos so you can learn how to make each recipe at home.
Recipe for Dundee Fruit Cake
In this article, I will show you how I make this fruit cake from scratch. This old-fashioned recipe is easy to make and can be stored for months. Some people call this cake an "Oxford lunch." This cake can also make a lovely wedding or Christmas cake if you decorate it with marzipan and icing. I have included step-by-step instructions with my own videos and photos.
- 525 g (18 oz) plain flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 350 g (12 oz) butter or margarine
- 350 g (12 oz) caster sugar or superfine sugar
- 75 g (3 oz) chopped almonds
- 8 eggs
- 2 oranges, juice and rind
- 750 g (2 Ib) sultanas
- 250 g (1 Ib) mixed fruit
- 150 g (6 oz) cherries
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
6 hours 30 min
7 hours 15 min
40 to 50 slices
- Baking tin - 9 in (23 cm) round or 8 in (20 cm) square
- Grease-proof paper or parchment paper
- Brown paper
- Baking brush
- Large mixing bowl
Step 1: Prepare the Cake Tin
- Take a sheet of greaseproof paper and measure it to fit the outside of the tin. It should be three times the height of the tin.
- Lay the paper on the table and fold in two.
- Fold the bottom of the paper an inch high. This will give you the lip.
- Cut diagonal lines in this lip.
- Melt some butter.
- Brush the melted butter over the inside of the greaseproof paper.
- Add some melted butter to the inside of the tin with the brush.
- Place the greaseproof paper into the baking tin with the buttered part facing to the tin. Push it around the tin until it is secure.
- Measure the bottom of the tin with the paper and cut it to size.
- Cover in melted butter and place inside the tin with the buttered part face down.
- Put it aside until you are ready for to use.
Step 2: Prepare the Ingredients
- Preheat the oven to 150 C (300 F) Gas mark 2.
- Lightly beat the eggs and leave in a bowl.
- Sieve the flour and add the baking powder and leave aside.
- Take the cherries out of the tub and cover with a small amount of flour.
- Cut each cherry in half.
- Add a bit more flour to stop them sticking together and leave in a bowl.
- Grate the two oranges and put aside the peel.
- Squeeze the oranges and leave the juice in a cup.
Step 3: Make the Cake Batter
- Add the butter and sugar to your mixing bowl.
- Mix it around with a large spoon until it is nice and creamy.
- Add approximately a quarter of the flour, sultanas and mixed fruit into the bowl.
- Do the same for the almonds, eggs, orange peel, orange juice and cherries.
- Mix in very well until you have evenly distributed those ingredients into the mixture.
- Repeat this process for a further three times until you have mixed all the ingredients together.
I do it this way because there are a lot of ingredients and if all of it went in together it would be very hard to have a good even mixture.
Step 4: Add the Mixture to the Tin
- Place the tin beside the bowl.
- Using a large serving spoon place the mixture gradually into the tin.
- Smooth over until even.
- Then make a hole by pushing the mixture from the middle towards the sides.
- Smooth the sides again.
The cake will cook from the inside out. If you do not make a hole in the centre then when the cake comes out of the oven there will be a large bump in the middle. The hole will disappear when the cake is baked in the oven.
Step 5: Protect the Cake Mixture as It Cooks
- Measure some brown paper around the outside of the tin so that it goes one and a half times around it. It should also be three times the height of the tin.
- Hold it there and wrap around some string.
- Tie a firm knot. You want it to be tight enough so that the brown paper does not come away.
- Cut another piece of greaseproof paper in a square so it it will sit on top of the brown paper you just attached to the tin.
- Fold this paper twice and cut a piece off the edge by about three inches. Open up the square and you should have a hole in the form of a triangle.
- Place this on top of the cake tin.
The cake will be baking for a very long time and adding the paper to the edge and top of the tin will protect the cake from getting overcooked in those places. The hole in the paper is to allow the heat to escape while baking in the oven.
Step 6: Bake the Cake
- Place the tin into the preheated oven at 150 C (300 F) Gas mark 2 and cook for approximately 6 hours.
- Do not open and close the oven door during this baking time.
- The cake can be tested after 6 hours by pushing a dry knife into it. If it comes out slightly wet then it will need more cooking time. If dry, then it is ready.
All ovens are different so it is important to test the cake after the six hours. Some will need another half hour and some maybe an hour.
- When you are satisfied your cake is ready, remove the tin from the oven.
- Take off the top piece of greaseproof paper.
- Allow to cool for 1 hour.
- Remove the outer piece of brown paper around the tin.
- Allow to cool for 1 more hour.
- Remove the cake from the tin and put onto a wooden board. Place a clean tea towel on top of it.
Below you will be able to see my mother making this fruit cake in a YouTube video. She is 84 years old but is still well able to continue with her baking. I took the video and uploaded it to YouTube.
How to Cut and Store the Cake
- Once the cake is fully cold you can cut it.
- First cut it in half and wrap the first half in some greaseproof paper.
- Put this piece into your cake box.
- Cut the second half of the cake into slices that you want to eat now.
- Place the remainder of the second half of the cake onto some greaseproof paper and wrap well.
- Place this piece into your cake box and add the lid making sure to close it tightly.
- Store in a cool place.
An Oxford Lunch will last for up to nine months if stored correctly like this.
Let Us Know What You Think
Want to Add Marzipan and Icing?
You could decide you would like to use this fruit cake recipe to bake a wedding cake or a Christmas cake as well. I have also written an article for a Christmas cake recipe with slightly different ingredients. It is a richer cake with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves added.
Some people can not eat this type of cake because the spices repeat on them and they get terrible indigestion. It also has whiskey mixed into the ingredients. There are many people who do not drink alcohol or eat anything made with it. So the above recipe is ideal for them.
In the Christmas cake recipe, I have given step-by-step instructions with plenty of photos for icing and decorating the cake. If you want to add marzipan and/ or icing, I've written a step-by-step guide for doing just that!
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on September 15, 2018:
Hello Wanda, sultanas are dried seedless grapes. You can buy them in packets the same as currants and raisons in the baking section of your store.
Wanda Jones on August 26, 2018:
What is sultana
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 22, 2015:
What a beautiful cake! This would add so much to a homespun Christmas. Thanks!
L M Reid (author) from Ireland on February 07, 2015:
Hello peachpurple. You can substitute the butter for low fat spread margarine it works just as well
peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 06, 2015:
Anyway to reduce the butter, too much for me