Author Sue Lawrence revisits the sweet, sugary, buttery and utterly delightful baking of her childhood, with this recipe for Dundee Cake.

  • 135
  • Makes 1 cake or 10 cupcakes
  • Medium
As a Dundonian, I am exceedingly proud of Dundee cake. Its origins are closely linked to the marmalade industry. The surplus of orange peel from the manufacture of Keiller’s marmalade was used in Dundee cakes. A sign, therefore, of an authentic Dundee cake is the use of orange peel, not mixed peel. Unless you are a purist, however, mixed peel of good quality will still make a very fine cake. The cake is a thing of great beauty, with its concentric circles of whole almonds on top. But I also love to make mini-cakes, each in a muffin wrapper and each studded with an almond. These are ideal for picnics, preferably on a windswept Scottish beach.


  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour, sifted
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 150g currants
  • 150g raisins
  • 50g chopped mixed peel
  • 1 tbsp whisky (preferably malt)
  • 16-20 whole blanched almonds


Dundee Cake or Dundee cupcakes

1 Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest thoroughly until light and fluffy (I do this in my food mixer) then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a teaspoon of the weighed flour with each egg to prevent curdling.

2 Sift in the rest of the flour, spice and a pinch of salt. Fold everything together gently, then stir in the dried fruits and mixed peel, together with the whisky.

3 For the cake, spoon the mixture into a buttered, lined 18cm/7in cake tin, levelling the top. Bake the cake in a preheated oven (150C/Gas Mark 2) for 1½ hours, then take it out and arrange the almonds on top in two circles. Return to the oven and continue to bake for a further 45 minutes (2¼ hours altogether).

Alternatively to make cupcakes

Spoon into 10 coffee shop-style muffin wrappers (or large cases) set in a bun tin. Bake the cupcakes at 160C/Gas Mark 3 for about 35 minutes. Once done (insert a wooden skewer into centre: there should be no raw batter on it), remove the cake or cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before decanting.

• Scottish Baking by Sue Lawrence is out now in paperback, at £12.99, published by Birlinn



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