Traditional Dundee Cake Recipe

by Phil & Sonja
Dundee Cake Recipe

We think that nearly everyone has seen a picture of a Dundee cake, even if they’ve never looked at a Dundee Cake recipe before. They may not have realised what they were looking at but we think they have definitely seen a picture of this iconic cake! The reason for our certainty, the simple almond.

Every Dundee cake is topped with a stunningly simple circular pattern of almonds that make it stand out in any crowd of cakes and seen by everyone at some point!

Okay, so we might be exaggerating slightly but it is quite hard to miss the timeless nutty design. What can be overlooked though is quite how tasty this amazing cake is, who apparently had the cake put together in the first place and how simple it is to make for yourself.

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Simple Dundee Cake Recipe

The History of the Dundee Cake Recipe

The story of the Dundee Cake and the recipes nutty decoration is said to be buried deep in Scottish folklore. Legend says Mary, Queen of Scots herself asked for the recipe to be created. Why? Well, she did not care for glacé cherries so an alternative was requested, and you didn’t say no to a Queen!

The blanched almonds that form circles on the top of every Dundee cake, well that can be said to form a crown, one fitting a queen perhaps?

Like all folklore, the origins of the Dundee Cake recipe should be taken with a pinch of salt (not literally), rich fruitcakes were popular across Scotland so there is no proof that Mary demand the creation of this recipe. A more likely story is that the Dundee Cake recipe was created by Janet Keiller in the 1700s, later to be mass-produced by the Marmalade company Keiller’s Marmalade.

Marmalade is a key ingredient in several Scottish recipes that we’ve found, one of our favourites is Caledonian cream delicious! Like Cranachan, Caledonian Cream contains whipped cream and whisky, but there the similarities end. The other main ingredients in Caledonian Cream are marmalade, and then the juice of a lemon or an orange, plus a little sugar for sweetness. 

Despite it not being likely that Mary ordered the creation of the Dundee Cake recipe, it is said that our current Queen, Queen Elizabeth is partial to a slice or two so it’s a cake with royal heritage one way or another!

Slice of Cake and a cup of tea

What is a Dundee Cake

Dundee Cake is a rich Scottish fruitcake made with currants, raisins and almonds; many recipes will also include marmalade and fruit peel. Like many Scottish recipes, it’s been known to have a dash of whisky as well. Yum!

The cake is beautifully moist with a rich zesty flavour back up by a sweet Dundee marmalade. The almonds are more than a design feature they also provide a crunch and roasted flavour.

What is the difference between a Dundee Cake and a Christmas Cake?

Many people dust off their trusted Dundee Cake recipe at Christmas time but technically it’s not a Christmas cake. The differences are slight but do make the difference. The Dundee Cake has no alcohol traditionally and, of course, has a topping of blanched almonds. Traditional Christmas cake has a richer flavour and uses different fruits to a Dundee Cake including glacé cherries. Sometimes a Christmas cake can have a similar almond decoration but more modern recipes call for the cake to iced.

Dundee Cake Recipe on a cooling rack

Things you’ll need

Ingredients

  • 180g Unsalted Butter ( 3/4 cup and 1 tbsp)
  • 180g Brown Sugar ( 3/4 cup and 1 tbsp)
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 5 Tbsp Dundee Marmalade with Peel
  • Blanched Almonds
  • 225g Plain Flour ( 1 cups + ¼ cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 175g Raisins (1 cups + 3 tbsp)
  • 175g Currants (1 cups + 3 tbsp)
Dundee Cake decoration

How to make a Dundee Cake – Step by Step Guide

Pre-heat the oven to 150C / 300F. The cake needs to cook at a low temperature so it doesn’t brown too quickly or crack.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.

In another bowl, crack the 3 large eggs and whisk together. Measure out the flour that you’ll need to use and then add a tablespoon or two along with the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar. This helps the eggs to not curdle when you mix it together.

Slowly fold in the remaining flour.

Once your mix has begun to come together add the currants and sultanas as well as the marmalade. At the same time grate your orange adding the zest to the rest of the ingredients and fold it all into the mixture. Don’t mix it too much!

Grease or line your cake tin, we greased the sides and cut parchment paper for the base, this seemed to work well.

Pour your mix into your cake tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

Decorate with blanched almonds, usually in circles. Lightly lay the almonds on the batter rather than pushing them into the mix, the cake will expand around them as it cooks.

Put in the centre of the preheated oven for 1.5-2 hours. If it starts to brown too quickly you can put some tinfoil over the top of the cake tin. Do keep an eye on it as it will darken very quickly once done.

Remove and allow to cool in the cake tin for around 10 minutes before removing and placing on a rack to cool further.

Some people suggest placing your cooled cake in an airtight tin for 2 days before cutting as it will taste better, we do not have this will power and have never been able to wait that long to be able to try this, do let us know if it works!

We suggest eating whenever you chose, with a good book and a cup of tea.

How long does a Dundee Cake last?

In our house not very long at all but, in an airtight cake tin, your cake should last a week or so. Once cut if you want the cake to last a little longer wrap it in tin foil before placing it in your tin.

Variations

Newer versions of the Traditional Dundee Cake Recipe have seen the addition of glazé cherries, a sweet glaze brushed over the top of the cake and some have even whisky added. None of these sound like bad options to us but we do like trying to stick to the traditional!

Dundee Cake recipe slice with a cup of tea and cake in the background

Enjoy,

Phil & Sonja

Yield: 1 Cake

Dundee Cake Recipe

Dundee Cake Recipe

A Dundee cake is a rich fruitcake made with currants, sultanas, and almonds; sometimes it will also include marmalade and fruit peel. Like many Scottish recipes, it has also been known to have a dash of whisky as well. Yum!

The cake is beautifully moist with a rich zesty flavour backed up by a sweetly tart Dundee marmalade. The almonds are not just a design feature but provide a crunch and roasted flavour to an otherwise simple fruitcake.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 180g Unsalted Butter
  • 180g Brown Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 5 Tbsp Dundee Marmalade with Peel
  • 225g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 175g Raisins
  • 175g Currants

Instructions

How to make a Dundee Cake – Step by Step Guide

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C / 300F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, crack the 3 large eggs and whisk together.
  4. Measure out the flour that you’ll need to use and then add a tablespoon or two along with the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar. This helps the eggs to not curdle when you mix it together.
  5. Slowly fold in the remaining flour.
  6. Once your mix has begun to come together add the currants and sultanas as well as the marmalade. Then, grate your orange adding the zest to the rest of the ingredients and fold it all into the mixture.
  7. Grease or line your cake tin, we greased the sides with butter and cut parchment paper for the base, this worked well.
  8. Pour your mix into your cake tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  9. Decorate with blanched almonds, usually in circles starting from the outside and working into one solo nut. Take care to lightly lay the almonds on the batter rather than pushing them into the mix.
  10. Put in the centre of the preheated oven for 1.5 - 2 hours. If it starts to brown too quickly you can put some tinfoil over the top of the cake tin.
  11. Remove and allow to cool in the cake tin for around 10 minutes before removing and placing on a rack to cool further.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 2gSugar: 29gProtein: 4g

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