Wednesday, October 04, 2006

cake du jour

We never actually had Dundee cake as kids. I used to want it, but as the only cakes we ever ate were made by my mum (two a week), and Dundee wasn't in her repertoire, so we never got it. Dundee cake came in a red tin, beause it was bought. We didn't have any money when I was growing up, so we didn't have things that were bought. Especially not foodstuffs. Foodstuffs were cooked, in the kitchen. Now that I am older I realise that this want was entirely about the not having. I have always been prone to wanting things merely because I cannot have them.

At the time though, it was the almonds that made me want it; those whole almonds stuck into the top of the cake in concentric circles. I suppose they seemed exotic. Certainly my mum never stuck things in the top of the cake. Granted, she regularly poured all manner of delicious things over her cakes (things which I would usually get to lick from the bowl), but they weren't almonds, and they weren't stuck in.

I remember the disappointment the first time I tasted Dundee cake. I ought to have known because I don't really like fruit cake, except my mum's. I especially don't like rich and slightly bitter fruit cake, which has no icing or marzipan to distract you from all that fruit. And almonds? They don't make up for the lack of sickly sweetness. In fact, they are sort of hard and tasteless having been through the baking process.

I don't remember the last time I saw a Dundee cake. Were they a product of the 1970s? Or have the citizens of Dundee been making cakes, sticking almonds in the top of them, and stashing them away in red tins for centuries? Suddenly I need to know.

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