A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (2024)

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Elaine Lemm

A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (1)

Elaine Lemm is a renowned British food writer, classically trained chef, teacher, and author with over 25 years of experience writing about British food and cooking.

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Updated on 05/11/21

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A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (2)

A traditional Dundee cake comes from Dundee, Scotland, which is quite simply how this cake got its name. The cake distinguishes itself from other rich fruit cakes by the circles of blanched almonds on the top. There are many versions of the Dundee Cake, all claiming to be "the one," but, usually any lovely rich fruit cake will do the job. This cake is as close as you can get to a true, traditional Dundee cake, as it contains the almonds, whisky, and the orange peel.

Dundee is also the birthplace of British marmalade, thanks to the Keiller family, who are generally credited with making the first commercially available, breakfast preserve. As such, a pure and true Dundee cake will include the zest of an orange, thus linking it to the marmalade-making in the town. Thisrecipe includes a little of both, and so has quite a citrus tang to it.

As this is also a Scottish cake, traditionally a malt whisky would be used to flavor the cake. However, if whisky is not your tipple, then feel free to use brandy or even sherry.

Ingredients

  • 150 grams (5 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

  • 150 grams (5 1/2 ounces) dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

  • 225 grams (8 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice, or pumpkin pie spice mix

  • 3 large eggs

  • 450 grams (1 pound) raisins

  • 55 grams (2 ounces) citrus candied peel, coarsely chopped

  • 55 grams glace cherries, halved, optional

  • 1 tablespoon malt whiskey, or brandy

  • 115 grams (4 ounces) whole blanched almonds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (3)

  2. Preheat the oven to 300 F/150 C/Gas 2. Line an 8-inchcake pan with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and grease lightly with a little butter.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (4)

  3. Place the butter, sugar, and zest into a large bowl. Cream until light, smooth, and creamy using either a fork or electric hand whisk.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (5)

  4. In another bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder and mixed spice.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (6)

  5. Beat 1 egg into the creamed butter, then beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Repeat until all the eggs and flour are used up.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (7)

  6. Add the raisins, citrus candied peel, and cherries (if using) to the mixture and stir well, but gently—you don't want to flatten the cake batter too much—until all the fruits are incorporated into the mixture.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (8)

  7. Stir in the whisky using a spoon or spatula.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (9)

  8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan and gently level the surface.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (10)

  9. Cook in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, then arrange the blanched almonds into circles on the top and return the cake to the oven.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (11)

  10. Bake for another hour or until the cake is a deep, golden brown.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (12)

  11. Remove the cake from the oven and place onto a cooling rack, leaving the cake to cool in the pan. Once cooled, remove from the pan, slice, serve, and enjoy.

    A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (13)

Tips

  • Do not rush the baking of this cake; it is high in sugars and fruit and needs a long, slow baking time to make sure it does not burn. If you feel it is browning too quickly, lower the heat.
  • The cake keeps well when stored in an airtight container and will last for up to six weeks.

Recipe Variations

  • Switch up the dried fruits with your favorite; dried apricots and cranberries are good options.
  • Substitute the malt whisky for brandy or sherry.

Why Did My Cake Sink in the Middle?

No matter what type of cake you are baking, it can incur certain problems, such as sinking in the middle. This may happen because the oven temperature is too low, which can be caused by opening the oven door or using an uncalibrated oven. A sunken center can also be the result of a heavy movement outside the oven before the cake has had a chance to set.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
621Calories
25g Fat
95g Carbs
10g Protein

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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6to 8
Amount per serving
Calories621
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g32%
Saturated Fat 11g54%
Cholesterol 110mg37%
Sodium 236mg10%
Total Carbohydrate 95g35%
Dietary Fiber 5g16%
Total Sugars 58g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 2mg12%
Calcium 171mg13%
Iron 4mg20%
Potassium 612mg13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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A Christmas Classic: Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake Recipe (2024)
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