December 7, 2020

Dundee Cakes at St. Nicholas Tea!

Delightful Scents at the Corgyncombe Bakery!

When lit, the Advent wreath creates such lovely shadows and light on the ceiling at Corgyncombe.


The Dundee cake is brought out to be served with tea.

With the coming of Christmas, Dundee cakes are delicious at teas throughout December!

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I took the photograph of the chickadee several years ago, as St. Nicholas Day morn dawned snowy, sparkly white!

Making Dundee cakes for tea is another tradition around Christmas time at Corgyncombe Cottage.

During the days before Christmas, delicious and festive Dundee cakes are enjoyed at tea time.

At the Corgyncombe Bakery I make many Dundee cakes in all different shapes and sizes.

Dundee cakes are made a month ahead of time and put in cold storage until time for St. Nicholas Tea.

St. Nicholas Day was December 6th.

Mixing the Dundee cake.


 The Advent wreath was briefly lit before hanging. The hand-dipped candles fill the old kitchen with the fragrant aroma of beeswax.


A receipt for Dundee Cake is in "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook".

I never add the citron nor the raisins as called for in the receipt, but add more than the called for amount of currants and in addition to the almonds in the receipt, add walnuts.

This combination makes the most delicious Dundee cake!

In her cookbook Tasha Tudor says to decorate the top of the Dundee cake with cherries and almonds. I have always decorated my Dundee cakes in a different pattern than those that I have seen Tasha illustrate. I use the cherry as the center with almonds or other nuts around the cherries forming flower-like shapes. I also use the currants to decorate the top of the Dundee cake.


The beeswax candles of the Advent Wreath over 863 Park Avenue are lit and the pretty music box is playing.

The dollhouse, with its two large opening doors, reminds us of Beatrix Potter's doll's house at Hill Top.

Nearby the dollhouse is our old fashioned table top Christmas tree like my Grandmum always had! The tree is surrounded by an old fashioned fence; it looks like a park in the distance from the house. In front of the dollhouse are little trees and another fence. A festive Christmas wreath is hanging from the wooden latch that shuts the two doors.

The address 863 Park Avenue is above the door.


 Tillie Tinkham, the seamstress mouse for the dolls at Corgyncombe, looks out from the door of her shoppe "Tillie Tinkham's Frocks & Fashions" with Millinery and Tea Room at 863 Park Avenue.


The clear sparkly lights of the Christmas tree are reminiscent of starlight, candlelight, and snowflakes.

Tucked in by the teapot on the shelf one can see the little mice.

Two of the dollhouse windows have curtains with lacey like snowflakes.


Wilma made a Dundee cake for St. Nicholas Tea.

She enjoys tea with Elspeth.

Tillie Tinkham, the seamstress mouse for the dolls at Corgyncombe, with clove in paw, explains to Emma how to make a delightful smelling clove orange! Tillie made the smaller clove orange several years ago.

Emma is a doll inspired by the old Izannah Walker dolls.

'Tis now the season when we make apple, orange, lemon, and lime pomanders. After the cloves have been put in all round the fruit, it is rolled in an orris root and cinnamon mixture.  Orris root is a ground powder from the rhizomatous roots of Iris Florentina. Pomanders, with their pleasing scent, have long been a tradition at our house at Christmastide!



Three Dundee cakes made at the
Corgyncombe Bakery.

St. Nicholas has left treats in Nanny Nettie-Kin's shoe!
The bed is an antique rope bed and has a cozy handspun, handwoven cover.

Nanny Nettie-Kin decorates her Advent wreath with rose hips that she collected from the Corgyncombe

Nanny Nettie-Kin readies St. Nicholas Tea with her Dundee cake baked in her little stove the "Ark" and
tea for Hitty and her friends.

Dundee cake and tea, and a special pitcher of Corgyncombe Dairy Goat Carmella Lucille's milk for little Hitty Diane.

Nanny Nettie-Kin is in awe of the beauty of the lit Advent Wreath.

Nanny Nettie-Kin found this little antique stove for only one dollar!


 "The Dolls' Christmas" written and illustrated by Tasha Tudor.

Simple elegance, a beautiful wreath upon the front door of
"Pumpkin House",
an old New England house.

Nanny Nettie-Kin is ironing a ribbon for a bow to adorn the wreath for the front of "Pumpkin House". She irons with an old fashioned iron she heats on the woodstove, with a potholder to protect her hand from the heat. I myself have used an old fashioned iron and it works quite well!

Nanny Nettie-Kin adjusting the wreath on the front door of "Pumpkin House".

Nanny Nettie-Kin sits by the parlour fire in "Pumpkin House" with little St. Nicholas on her lap.
With a fire in the fireplace, Nanny Nettie-Kin has made "Pumpkin House" so cozy!

Sarah holding a little gingerbread man cookie.

Tasha Tudor illustrated the 1975 version of "The Night Before Christmas". It is delightful! In Sarah's book Tasha wrote: "To Miss Sarah who wears fine boots! Love from Tasha Tudor".

Our doll Amelia's Advent Wreath, with hand dipped beeswax candles.


My daughter Sarah made the frosted gingerbread cookies that are served at afternoon tea. The large plate holds a dog, a hen, a bunny rabbit, and a cat, and the smaller plate holds a corgi. Lydia Corgi was the model!




Gingerbread cookies before they were baked.
Our Corgyncombe Dairy Goat Carmella Lucille was the model for the goat cookie.
In the lower left corner is the nasty Grinning Troll.

The grinning face mold we got years ago with many other round molds of acorns, thistles, snowflakes, and other designs.

Baking gingerbread makes the cottage smell so good!

The deer, stars, and trees on the cookie sheet tell a true story of one twilight when I stepped outside. Seven deer came winding through our snow covered lawn by the creek looking amazingly like reindeer, all in a line, flying over the creek, curving as they ran following each other in the cornfield. Really it was much like the reindeer pulling Saint Nicholas' sleigh.

Four pages in the 1975 version illustrated by Tasha Tudor of "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore, illustrate so beautifully what we mean when we say winding and curving. It was just amazing, like magic! The pages in the book to look for accompany the text:

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled and shouted and called them by name: "Now, Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen! To the top ofthe porch to the top of the wall! Now Dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our web site and our previous postings elsewhere on the internet.

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Photographs, images, and text copyright © 2000-2020 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson. All rights reserved. Photographs, images, and/or text may not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson.
copyright © 2020 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson