Sweets for my Sweetie- Surprisingly Simple

It is that time of year again- Mr. Food It Yourself’s birthday.  I was prepared to make another pineapple upside-down cake, but his request this year was for a traditional Scottish style fruit cake known as Dundee cake.

Rachel the Vagabond Baker has a superb write-up about this delicious dessert, and a seriously amazing recipe for it, as well. I did have to make two small changes to her recipe, though. First, I had to use a dairy-free butter substitute. One of our birthday guests is highly lactose intolerant. Also, I swapped the traditional sultanas (that’s Scottish for golden raisins, by the way) with dried cherries, cranberries, and blueberries. Another expected guest has this issue with raisins…I might have to do a whole other blog post on it.

What I did not change was the fabulously European ingredient list. By now, I hope all you DIYeters are convinced that making a cake from scratch is easy enough. If not, trust me when I say cake mixes are useless and stupid and you do not ever need to buy them. I further hope you believe me when I say following a baking recipe that uses weighed ingredients is not actually any harder.  All it takes is a kitchen scale, and those are not too expensive.  You will definitely want to play professional chef and prepare your mise en place( that’s professional chef talk for having all your ingredients ready to go) prior to mixing any ingredients. Here is the way to weigh:

Step 1: Turn on the scale and make sure it is set to the correct units, in this case grams.

Step 2: Place your receptacle on the scale. Yes, the scale will weigh the receptacle. That is not a problem because…

Step 3: Zero the scale by hitting the little button that says “zero”, or by re-adjusting the balance arm if you are super old school and have a non-digital scale.

Step 4: Add the ingredient to the receptacle until you have the proper weight. See how easy that is?

Here is all my stuff. My flour, sugar, butter substitute, fruit, almond meal, eggs, marmalade, blanched almonds and parchment-lined cake pan are all ready to go. I fired up my electric mixer and added the ingredients just as written in the recipe. Baking, you must remember, is all about the technique.

During the 1.75 hour baking time I cleaned up the kitchen, called a few US senators and representatives about the 2018 Farm Bill and watched fish swim around our aquarium. Finally, the cake was extracted and cooled. Damn, that is a good looking cake.

So, what does one serve with Dundee cake? A bit of marmalade would surely be good, and I had plenty left over from making the cake. Mr. Food It Yourself mentioned something about lemon curd, but every jar I found had high-fructose corn syrup in it, which upsets his stomach. As I was pondering this conundrum, I had a cranberry sauce moment.  Is lemon curd something I could make myself?

The internet supplied me with the answer via the Taste of Home Magazine website. Turns out lemon curd is super easy to make and requires only ingredients you probably already have. So I made some. It took all of 20 minutes. It might take you longer if you have a larger kitchen and it is a farther walk between the refrigerator and the stove.

Just whisk it all together over medium heat. So simple! Yes, I used bottled lemon juice. If anyone claims they can tell the difference suggest they get a job with Homeland Security sniffing luggage at the airport.

One pint of lemony deliciousness for PENNIES.

Mr. Food It Yourself was highly pleased with his birthday cake, he declared it “very tasty.” Our guests were also impressed.  The cake was buttery, dense, and sweet. I think the leftover cake will make a good breakfast.  The lemon curd added a nicely contrasting tartness.

I will definitely make another Dundee cake. I will also never buy lemon curd again. Seriously, there is no reason to buy something that is this easy and inexpensive to make. What surprisingly easy recipes have you tried lately? Share in the comments!