Marmalade Dundee cake

Vegan Dundee cake

I welcome any chance to broaden both my vocabulary and repertoire of recipes so when Dan Lepard, one of my favourite food writers, suggested a "bakealong", my hand was among those that instantly shot up.

The idea was that Guardian Online readers, working in their separate kitchens, would get together via their computers and bake a Dundee cake in unison.

Best of all, Dan was offering advice on versions suitable for those on different diets. Obviously, a vegan cake sprang to my mind – and it would be a chance to try out the home-made egg replacer suggested by Deborah of The Gentle Gourmet at Paris Vegan Day last week.

The list of ingredients – with suggestions for replacements – was online a few days ahead of the bakealong. I had everything ready, weighed and photographed on Sunday morning and joined the starting line basking in a glow of organisation.

Dundee cake ingredients

My fellow bakers were already online from as far afield as the United States, India, Germany, Finland… and even Australia, where it was a steamy summer’s 2 am. At least two of us were baking in France. As we waited for the off, we discussed the weather and what our cats were up to (just about everybody had at least one cat, apparently).

At 4 pm French time, the first instructions popped up on my laptop, which I’d left some distance away from the scene of the action to protect it from flour fire and raisin shrapnel.

My oil-sugar mixture looked rather pathetic alongside the pictures online but it perked up a bit after I added the "eggs". When the ground almonds went in, it seemed a good time to have a taste… some self-restraint was clearly called for or this cake would never make it into the oven.

Every few minutes, another slim slice of method was served up online. Participants shared their progress or sent out cries for help which Dan kindly answered while baking two cakes of his own, including a gluten-free, egg-free version.

Some clever folk even managed to cook, post messages and put photos online simultaneously – doubtless stroking their cats at the same time. I’m a bit more technically challenged, but at least my keyboard stayed practically pristine.

Seth and I ate the cake for breakfast, savouring the moist crumb, tender fruit and the inimitable tang of international bonhomie. It also keeps well for several weeks and you can "feed" it whisky or some other suitably festive tipple through tiny holes in the top.

Click here for the original recipe.

Here’s my vegan version.

For the home-made egg replacer:

80 g (3 oz) linseed (flax seed)

For the cake:

90 ml (4 fl oz) groundnut oil
150 g (5 oz) caster sugar
Grated rind of an orange
250 g (9 oz) flour (I used wheatmeal)
1 tsp baking powder
100 g (3½ oz) marmalade or apricot jam
100 g (3½ oz) ground almonds or hazelnuts
375 g (13 oz) mixed dried fruit
100 g (3½ oz) candied orange peel
100 g (3½ oz) glacé cherries
100 g (3½ oz) whole blanched almonds

Put the linseed in a saucepan with 750 ml (25 fl oz) of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the mixture has the consistency of raw egg white. Pour it into a sieve placed over a bowl and measure out 6 tablespoons of the resulting gloop for the cake. Pour the rest into an ice cube tray and put it in the freezer straight away (1 cube = 1 egg).

Weigh and prepare the other cake ingredients. Mix the flour and baking powder.

Line the bottom and sides of a 20-cm (8-inch) round cake tin with three or four thicknesses of baking parchment.

Beat the oil and sugar together until smooth (a stand mixer or hand-held mixer is a big help here). Then add the grated orange zest, a third of the flour, the egg replacer (in two goes), the marmalade, ground almonds and finally the rest of the flour, beating well between each addition.

Preheat the oven to 150°C (Gas 3).

The mixture should have a stiff dropping consistency but if it seems too stiff, beat in one or two tablespoons of water or plant milk.

Add the dried fruit, candied peel and glacé cherries, and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin, cover with a sheet of foil and bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile pour boiling water over the whole almonds and leave to soak for about 15 minutes, then drain them and dry them carefully with a clean teacloth.

When the 45 minutes are up, take out the cake and arrange the almonds on top, pressing them down slightly. A circular pattern is traditional (see pictures) but you could always create your own design. Just don’t spend too long thinking about it because the cake doesn’t really like being disturbed at this stage. Put it carefully back in the oven – without the foil – as soon as you’ve finished.

l - Almonds added

Lower the temperature of the oven to 130°C (Gas 2) and bake the cake for another 60-90 minutes (mine took a bit longer). A knife inserted in the centre should come out almost clean. If you’re concerned about spoiling the look of the cake, remove an almond and put it back afterwards.

Whisk together a teaspoon of sugar and a little water to make a glaze and brush the top of the cake with it. Put the cake back in the oven for about ten minutes and leave to cool in the tin.

2 Responses to “Marmalade Dundee cake”

  1. Sefdik says:

    It was (it did not last long) a great tasting cake, my first vegan Dundee cake to boot. Thanks P.

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