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Dundee Cake

Throughout The Passing Bells, a romance slowly blossoms between American journalist Martin Rilke and former Abingdon Pryory maid Ivy Thaxton, though they only have snatches of time together as the war goes on. In Book Two, Martin happens upon Ivy on the street and takes her out for afternoon tea, in what becomes their first date, at the White Manor tea shop in posh Charing Cross. The tea salon strikes Ivy as very elegant: an orchestra plays, couples dance, and the lavish tea service includes petit fours, éclairs, and rich cakes. “Oh, my, isn’t it the grandest place!” she says. Martin appreciates Ivy’s appetite, and is even more pleased when she agrees to dance with him.

Later on in Book Three, after both have begun to experience the horrors of war, Martin and Ivy meet near Christmastime at another White Manor tea shop. Ivy is training as a nurse, due to report to a hospital in France the next month. Martin is thrilled to see her:

She could eat, bless her. He felt almost paternal watching her devour what was placed before her—a hot pork pie, tea sandwiches of ham and cress, a slice of Dundee cake, and cup after cup of tea. And yet she was as thin as a waif. She amazed him.
“Stop staring at me.”
“I like to watch you eat.”
“It’s rude.”
“Sure, but you know how we Yanks are.”

The Dundee cake Ivy devours is a famous traditional Scottish cake, known for its rich flavor and typical decoration of concentric circles of almonds. It’s a great fruit cake for those who don’t like the heavy, rich cakes. Also known as the Scottish Christmas cake, it’s perfect for the holidays.

Serves 
Yields 12 servings
Ingredients 

1 cup raisins
1 cup dried currants
1/3 cup diced candies mixed fruit peel
1/3 cup candied cherries, quartered
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ounce ground almonds
1/2 cup whole almonds
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Instructions 

1) Combine raisins, currants, mixed peel, cherries, and orange rind. Dredge with 1/3 cup flour.

2) Cream butter or margarine and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time until light. Combine 1 2/3 cups flour, baking powder, and ground almonds; fold into batter mixture. Mix in fruit. Spread in foil lined 8 x 3 inch round pan. If using a different size pan fill 3/4 full.

3) Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for about 1 1/2 hours, until an inserted wooden pick comes out clean. Remove cake from pan.

4) Toast almonds in 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Heat corn syrup, and brush over top surface of hot cake. Place almonds in whatever design you like. After cooling, cake will not be sticky.

Comments 

The Dundee cake Ivy devours is a famous traditional Scottish cake, known for its rich flavor and typical decoration of concentric circles of almonds.