Mouthwatering Dolly Varden Cake Recipe: Ready in Minutes!

In this age of convenience, it’s easy to resort to cake mixes and pre-made desserts. But why settle for average when you can have exceptional? As a baker, I strive to create delicious and memorable desserts that make people ask for seconds. And that’s why I want to share with you my recipe for the classic Dolly Varden Cake.

The Dolly Varden Cake is a timeless dessert that has been enjoyed for generations. It was named after a character in Charles Dickens’ novel “Barnaby Rudge”, and was originally made with citron and currants, spices like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon, and a touch of vanilla. It’s believed that the Dolly Varden cake originated in England in the 19th century, but its popularity quickly spread all over the world.

This cake is perfect for any occasion – from birthday parties to bridal showers. With its unique shape and delicious flavors, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser. So if you’re looking for a simple yet impressive cake recipe that will leave an impression on your guests, look no further than the Dolly Varden Cake. Ready to get started? Let’s dive into the recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Dolly Varden Cake
Dolly Varden Cake

Listen up, friends! If you’re a fan of delicious and moist cakes, then you’ll absolutely love this Dolly Varden cake recipe. I mean, why wouldn’t you? This cake recipe has been around for decades and has always managed to leave people swooning over its deliciousness.

And the best part? This Dolly Varden cake is super versatile! It’s perfect for any occasion, whether it be birthdays or just a regular day at home when your sweet tooth is calling. You can customize the cake design to suit themes like Elsa, Cinderella, Barbie, Baby Doll or Wilton. You can make mini-tiers or a dreamy fairy theme cake with simple vanilla icing.

The aroma of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove in this cake beckons you from yards away. It’s an old-fashioned treat that every aspiring baker should have in their cookbook. Trust me, the heavenly scent of this cake baking in your house will have everyone drooling.

And don’t even get me started on the ingredients – milk, eggs, sugar, butter; it’s a recipe that’s easy to follow with ingredients that are easily available in the grocery stores near you. The texture is fluffy and light while still maintaining a satisfying crumb. I promise you won’t find yourself reaching for another slice of this scrumptious Dolly Varden Cake just to quell your cravings.

In conclusion, if you want to impress your friends and family with a showstopper dessert that will leave them begging for more, then look no further than this classic Dolly Varden Cake recipe – it’s simply delicious!

Ingredient List

 Time to add some color with our Dolly Varden Cake!
Time to add some color with our Dolly Varden Cake!

Here’s what you’ll need to make Dolly Varden Cake Recipe:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs and 3 egg yolks beaten
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of milk

Other Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of chopped candied citron
  • 1/2 pound of dried or chopped fresh currants

Make sure to have every ingredient ready to go before starting the recipe for a smoother baking process.

The Recipe How-To

 A sprinkle of joy and a dash of whimsy baked into every slice.
A sprinkle of joy and a dash of whimsy baked into every slice.

Now that you have gathered all the ingredients, it’s time to start baking! Follow this step-by-step guide to make a delicious Dolly Varden cake.

Step 1: Preheat and Prepare

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare your pan by greasing it with unsalted butter. Sprinkle flour in the greased pan to avoid sticking.

Step 2: Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a bowl, mix 3 cups of cake flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Add a pinch each of grounded nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon spice to add an extra flavor.

Step 3: Mix the Wet Ingredients

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. In another bowl, cream together 1/2 pound of unsalted butter and 2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy. Add one egg yolk at a time, followed by a cup of milk alternately while mixing at low speed. Add one teaspoon of vanilla extract for flavor.

Step 4: Combine both Mixtures

Add the dry mixture gradually while continuously mixing with wet mixture until well incorporated.

Step 5: Add Currants and Citron

Add 1/4 cup of currants and 1/2 cup citron, lightly floured, stir until well distributed across the batter.

Step 6: Beat Egg White

In a clean, dry mixing bowl beat three egg whites to stiff peaks. Carefully fold into the batter to create lightness in your cake.

Step 7: Pour Batter into Prepared Pan

Gently pour the mixture into the prepared pan ensuring that it’s leveled equally, then bake for an hour or until golden brown at edges or thin knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven once done and let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack before icing.

You can never go wrong with this simple yet delicious Dolly Varden Cake recipe. So, take out your apron and get ready to bake!

Substitutions and Variations

 Bring the carnival to your kitchen with this festive cake.
Bring the carnival to your kitchen with this festive cake.

Looking to switch things up and make this Dolly Varden Cake recipe your own? Here are some substitutions and variations you can try:

– Flour: If you don’t have cake flour, you can make your own by using all-purpose flour and cornstarch (for every 1 cup of flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with cornstarch). You can also use self-rising flour, but keep in mind that it already contains baking powder and salt.

– Spices: This recipe calls for nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon, but feel free to adjust the spice levels to your liking. You can also add in other spices like ginger or cardamom.

– Fruit: The original Dolly Varden Cake used citron and currants, but you can use any dried fruit you prefer. Think raisins, cranberries, apricots, or even chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds.

– Flavors: Swap out the vanilla extract for almond or lemon extract to add a different flavor profile to the cake.

– Frosting: While the original recipe calls for a simple icing sugar glaze, you can get creative with your frosting flavors. Cream cheese frosting is a popular option that pairs well with this cake.

– Decorations: The fun of making this cake is in its unique design. You can take inspiration from classic Dolly Varden Cake designs or get creative and make your own characters or themes. Try using fondant or candy decorations to add a personal touch.

Remember that baking is all about experimentation and trying new things! Don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients and make this Dolly Varden Cake recipe truly your own.

Serving and Pairing

 Want to impress your party guests? Whip up a Dolly Varden Cake!
Want to impress your party guests? Whip up a Dolly Varden Cake!

When it comes to serving and pairing this delectable Dolly Varden Cake, there are a variety of options to consider. First off, this cake serves as an excellent centerpiece for any special occasion or gathering – it is a showstopper that will delight all eyes and taste buds!

A classic option is to serve it with a light dusting of icing sugar, which both enhances the cake’s beauty and adds a touch of sweetness to its already flavorful and aromatic taste. Additionally, you may opt to top it off with whipped cream or ice cream for an extra burst of taste and texture.

Looking to create a more sophisticated look? Try garnishing with seasonal fruits like berries or edible flowers – the bright colors of these toppings will surely add dynamic flavor and provide a good contrast balance to the spice undertones of the cake.

In terms of choosing drinks that can best complement this Dolly Varden Cake, you might want to go for something simple like coffee or tea, which will not overpower the complexity of flavors showcased in this dessert. However, if you are looking for something more festive, sparkling wines or champagne can work perfectly well – they pair excellently with any type of celebration!

Overall, this scrumptious treat can be served on any occasion – from children’s birthday parties to weddings – thanks to its versatility and timeless appeal. Get ready to impress your family and guests with the perfect Dolly Varden Cake pairing that everyone will enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The perfect excuse to indulge in some vibrant cake decorating.
The perfect excuse to indulge in some vibrant cake decorating.

As a baker, I know that sometimes it’s not feasible to bake a cake right before an event or party. That’s why having a make-ahead recipe like Dolly Varden Cake Recipe is a lifesaver. So, can you make this cake ahead of time? Absolutely! This cake can be prepared in advance and refrigerated till needed.

To prepare this cake ahead of time, start by baking the cake as directed in the recipe. Let the cake cool to room temperature before placing it in an airtight container and refrigerating it. This can be done up to two days in advance.

When it’s time to serve the cake, remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving it. The texture may be slightly firmer than if served immediately but still delicious.

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge. Properly stored, your Dolly Varden Cake will last for up to five days. When reheating leftovers, slice the desired portion and heat on low power in the microwave until it has reached your desired temperature.

One tip: avoid freezing this cake after you’ve baked the layers as freezing may cause the texture to change somewhat. Instead, store them in your refrigerator as described above or make each component (cake layers and frosting) individually and assemble just prior to serving.

With these tips and tricks for making ahead, storing, and reheating Dolly Varden cake recipe ensures that you can enjoy this delicious dessert anytime you want without worrying about baking from scratch every time!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Be the star of every celebration with this show-stopping dessert.
Be the star of every celebration with this show-stopping dessert.

As a baker, I’ve made my fair share of Dolly Varden cakes. Over time, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks that have helped me perfect this classic cake recipe. Here are my top tips for ensuring your Dolly Varden cake comes out perfectly every time.

First and foremost, make sure to sift your dry ingredients. This includes the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Sifting will remove any lumps or impurities in the ingredients and ensure that everything is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

When it comes to adding the eggs, be sure to add them one at a time and fully incorporate each egg before adding the next. This will prevent the batter from becoming too dense and ensure that the cake rises evenly.

Another important tip is to have all of your ingredients at room temperature before starting. This includes the butter, milk, eggs, and any other ingredients. Room temperature ingredients will blend together more easily and result in a smoother batter.

If you’re using citron or other candied fruit in your cake, be sure to chop it finely so that it’s evenly distributed throughout the batter. This will ensure that every bite has a bit of fruity goodness.

Finally, make sure to preheat your oven to the correct temperature (usually 350°F). It’s also a good idea to check on your cake regularly – different ovens may bake cakes at slightly different rates, so keep an eye on it as it bakes.

By following these simple tips, you’ll be on your way to making a delicious Dolly Varden cake every time!


Now that you know everything you need about making the delicious Dolly Varden Cake, it’s time to clear up any lingering questions or doubts. The following is a list of frequently asked questions to help you perfect your baking skills and achieve optimal results with this recipe.

How many cake mixes for a dolly varden tin?

To create a Dolly Varden cake, specialized cake tins are needed which can be found in cake decorating or kitchenware stores. Alternatively, a pre-made butter cake mix can be used as a time-saving option.

Why is it called a Dolly Varden cake?

The recipe I will be sharing with you today is a cake that is inspired by a character from a famous novel by Charles Dickens. The character gained immense popularity during the mid-nineteenth century, and the cake itself is a tribute to the historical period in which the novel is set – during the anti-Catholic riots that took place in London during the eighteenth century.

What ingredient makes cakes fluffy?

When it comes to baking, leavening agents are essential for helping your creations rise to the occasion. From breads to cakes to cookies, almost all baked goods require these magical ingredients to achieve the desired texture. There are two main types of leavening agents: chemical (such as baking soda and baking powder) and biological (primarily yeast). Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner, understanding how these agents work can help you achieve the perfect result every time.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Dolly Varden Cake recipe is one that you’ll definitely want to have in your baking repertoire. With its classic flavors of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and citron, this cake creates a warm and inviting aroma that will make your kitchen feel like home. Whether you’re making it for a children’s birthday party or an elegant gathering with adults, the Dolly Varden Cake is sure to impress.

With simple substitutions and variations, such as adding chocolate or pineapple, this recipe can be customized to suit any occasion or taste preference. Plus, with helpful tips for perfect results and make-ahead instructions, preparing this cake has never been easier.

In the end, the Dolly Varden Cake is more than just a delicious dessert – it’s a piece of history named after a beloved character from Charles Dickens’ novel. By making this cake, you’re not only indulging in a decadent treat but also preserving a slice of literary legacy.

So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try and see why the Dolly Varden Cake has stood the test of time as a beloved dessert. Who knows – it may become your new go-to recipe for birthdays, holidays, and every sweet occasion in between.

Dolly Varden Cake

Dolly Varden Cake Recipe

Posted in reply to a message board request for a "Dolly Vardens Cake recipe." Other than fish recipes, I did find one recipe in my file cabinet for a "Dolly Varden" cake. To be honest, I can't recall if I've ever made the cake, and I don't know where I got the recipe from (its hand written on a piece of very yellowed the top it says "from the 1922 cookbook"). Here it is:
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: < 4 Hours, Citrus, Dessert, Fruit, Mixer, Oven, Small Appliance, Weeknight
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 1 Two Layer Cake
Calories: 617.7kcal


  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup soft unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup currants, plumped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped citron
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


  • Line the bottom of two 8 inch square or a 9 inch round baking pans with waxed paper.
  • Butter the sides of the pans.
  • Sift flour, measure and resift 3 times with baking powder and salt.
  • Beat egg yolks, and set aside.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff, and set aside.
  • Cream butter, and add sugar slowly; cream well.
  • Add beaten egg yolks and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add sifted flour mixture alternately with milk in 4-5 portions, beginning and ending with flour; beat until smooth after each addition.
  • Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
  • Divide batter into 2 equal portions.
  • Add vanilla to one portion, stirring just enough to mix.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • To the remaining half of the batter, add the fruits and spices, and stir just enough to mix thoroughly.
  • Pour batter into the second prepared pan.
  • Bake layers in a 350 degree oven, the white layer 30 minutes, the dark layer 35 minutes.
  • Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.
  • Place spice layer on plate, and cover with a buttercream icing.
  • Place white layer on top, cover top and sides of cake with buttercream icing.
  • Slice with a very sharp knife.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 151g | Calories: 617.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 99.2g | Protein: 8.9g | Fat: 21.4g | Saturated Fat: 12.5g | Cholesterol: 155.8mg | Sodium: 268mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 56.5g

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