Traditional Scottish Dundee Cake

Scottish Dundee Cake

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
621 Calories
25g Fat
95g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 621
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 110mg 37%
Sodium 236mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 95g 35%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 58g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 171mg 13%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 612mg 13%
*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.)

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. This recipe 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.


  • 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.

    Ingredients to make Scottish dundee cake

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

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

    A pie pan lined with buttered parchment paper

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  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 bowl of mixed butter, sugar, and zest

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

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

    A bowl of combined flour, baking powder, and spices

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  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 bowl of combined eggs, flour mixture, and sugar mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  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 bowl of cake batter mixed with raisins, citrus peel, and cherries

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

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

    Whiskey added to the bowl of cake batter

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

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

    A cake pan with cake batter

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  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 partially baked dundee cake topped with almonds

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

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

    A full cooked Scottish dundee cake in a cake pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  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 Scottish dundee cake in a pan on a cooling rack

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack


  • 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.