Scottish Dundee Cake

Saturday 24 August 2019

All the bakes of my childhood were embroidered with the appearance of an old patterned Dundee Cake Tin that my mother had collected somewhere during her travels. 

It had Scottish tartan's printed on it, all around the outside, and on the underside I believe there was actually a photo of a Dundee Cake.  To me it represented one thing and one thing only.  

Deliciousness!  Because I knew that inside the tin would be some cookies that my mother had baked or plain cake, or maybe, if we were really lucky . . .  date squares!

It wasn't until I got much older that I began to wonder what exactly a Dundee Cake was!  

I knew it was a fruit cake of some sort, which was quite apparent from the tin, and I knew it was Scottish in origin, also apparent from the tin . . . but exactly what kind of fruit cake it was escaped me.

When we were in Scotland several years ago, I picked up a recipe book on Scottish Baking, written by Sue Lawrence, entitled simply . . .  Scottish Baking.  

Above you will see the photo of the Dundee cake in her book.  It is so pretty with its rings of blanched almonds decorating the top.

It is a fruit cake, but not as heavy and rich as a traditional Christmas type of fruit cake. This is more of an "Enjoy with a hot cuppa" kind of a fruit cake!  

Light in colour and with a nice "citrus" flavour, it is one of my favourite fruit cakes. 

Most cakes will include glace cherries of some sort, but a traditional Dundee Fruit Cake will not.  You may see it in some, but it's not tradition that any are included.  

What sets it apart from other fruit cakes is that, plus the inclusion of Scottish Malt Whiskey and that lovely ring of blanched almonds on the top.

I does include plenty of dried currants and raisins, and candied citrus peels of course! This recipe also includes the finely grated zest of on orange.  YUM!

A traditional fruit cake can take up to three hours baking in a slow oven.  This is not unusual. Even the full sized Dundee cake will take about 2 1/4 hours altogether, so it is not a quick bake by any means.

What I loved most about Sue's recipe is that it gives you the option of baking muffin sized cup cakes!  And they bake in about half an hour!  BONUS! 

This quick bake time makes them absolutely flippingly perfect for serving up at your tea break with a nice hot cuppa!

Moist and delicious and stogged to the hilt with lovely dried fruits and beautiful citrus flavours  . . . 

Hot steaming mugs of tea are most pleasurable when enjoyed with cakes such as these. 

Just look at all of those lovely currents and raisins studding that sweet buttery batter  . . .

I found myself wondering why I hadn't baked these before, especially where they are so quick out of the oven.  

We are people who adore a good fruit cake in this house, but I don't often make one as they are so time intensive.  Store bought ones are always ALWAYS disappointing.  Dry and lacklustre.

This pleases on every level.  These smaller cupcakes are quick to bake. Moist. Delicious.  In short perfect!  I highly recommend!

Yield: Makes one cake or 10 cupcakes

Scottish Dundee Cake & Dundee Cupcakes

A traditional Scottish Fruitcake that is very much beloved. You can either bake it in a 7 inch cake tin or in 10 large muffin tins.


  • 175g unsalted butter (3/4 cup + 1 TBS)
  • 175g caster sugar (1 cup less 2 TBS)
  • the finely grated zest of one large orange (I use my micro plane grater)
  • 3 medium free range eggs
  • 175g sifted self raising flour (1 cup plus 5 TBS)
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g dried currants (scant cup)
  • 150g raisins (scant cup)
  • 50g chopped mixed peel (6 1/2 TBS)
  • 1 TBS whiskey (preferably malt)
  • 16 to 20 whole blanched almonds


How to cook Scottish Dundee Cake & Dundee Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3. Butter and line a deep 7-inch round cake tin or line 10 large muffin tins with papers. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest thoroughly until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a teaspoon of the measured flour to it with each to help prevent the mixture from curdling. Stir in the mixed spice, salt and flour. Stir in the fruits and mixed peel along with the whiskey to combine well. Spoon into the 7 inch tin, levelling off the top. Alternately divide the mixture between the muffin cups. For muffins, top with the blanched almonds right away and pop into the oven. For the cake, just pop into the oven without the almonds at this point.
  3. For the cake, bake for 1 1/2 hours, remove from the oven and place the blanched almonds in two concentric circles on top of the cake, then return to the oven and bake for a further 45 minutes. For the muffins, bake for about 35 minutes until done. In either case a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Remove from the oven for a wire rack and let cool completely before removing from the baking tins.
  4. Store in an airtight container.
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I am very much in love with these little gingham cupcake liners.  They were perfect for this and I had actually forgotten that I had them, only discovering them when I was rooting through my baking cupboard.  I really hope you will bake these delicious Dundee Cake Muffins, or even the full size cake if that is what you are looking for.  If it is even half as good as these smaller ones are, you are in for a real teatime treat! 

Up Tomorrow:  Apple Mystery Dessert 



  1. Replies
    1. They are super lovely Monique. I hadn't meant to eat one, but I couldn't help myself and then I had another one for breakfast! ME<----- very naughty!! But you only live once! xoxo

  2. I am a devout fruitcake lover. This looks perfect.

    1. I guarantee you will fall in love with these Katy! xoxo

  3. I must make these. It's finally cooled down enough to turn the oven on. We love fruit cake in this family. Thanks for the recipe. Bulk Barn here I come for the lovely raisins, currents and mixed peel. Hugs, Elaine

    1. Hooray for cooling down! I miss the Bulk Barn! I used to get all of my baking bits there! It was so handy! I hope you make the cakes! They are fabulous! Love and hugs.

  4. Thank You! For some reason, North Americans put green cherries in their version of Dundee Cake.

    I got blocked by one blogger when I innocently asked why there she had put green cherries in her cake. Also told I was rude for asking.

    But then, I'm a Scot, so why would I know what's in a Dundee Cake!

    1. I would expect you would know more than most! I know that in North America you can get both red and green glace cherries. I have seen some versions of this cake with cherris in it, but I thought I would trust Sue Lawrence and she has never let me down yet! xo

  5. These looks awfully good! I do love currants. I've always wondered what Dundee cake is -- now I know!

    1. I highly recommend the cupcake sized Jeanie. You can freeze them and just take them out as and when you want one or two! xoxo

  6. Always wanted to try these so now i will...i love the citrus addition.

  7. Lovely cupcakes. I'm wondering whether possible to brush some brandy on top of the cupcakes after baking?


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