Black Bun

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Traditional Black Bun, perfect for first footing on Hogmanay and New Years Day.
As seen at Foodies Festival 2017.

Black Bun recipe from Baking with Granny. Traditional recipe for Scottish black bun, perfect for Hogmanay and New Year.

Happy Hogmanay!

For those of you outwith Scotland, Hogmanay is our version of New Years. The origins of the term ‘Hogmanay’ is at best uncertain but it isn’t without it’s traditions. Torch-light processions, singing Auld Lang Syne, street parties and of course first-footing; the custom of being the first visitor in a home after the bells at midnight. And for good luck your first-footer should be a tall, dark, handsome stranger, carrying some sort of gift. So if you’re planning on doing some first-footing yourself then this Black Bun is just the gift you need.

There’s two kinds of people when it comes to celebrating Hogmanay. The first are the ones who are happy to stand in the freezing rain, in the middle of the street, listening to a band they’d never usually listen to and hugging strangers at the stroke of midnight when hundreds of fireworks light up the sky.

Black Bun recipe. Classic Scottish recipe for fruit cake, encased on shortcrust pastry.

The second (i.e. me…) are those who much prefer to be in the warmth of their own homes, with Jackie Bird on the telly after repeats of Still Game and Only An Excuse, dozing off on the couch and wishing each other a Happy New Year before crawling into bed and feeling like it’s all a bit of an anti-climax.

Whichever you are and whether you’ll be first-footing before you go to bed or after you’ve woken in the morning, Black Bun is the ultimate gift to take to your host, or indeed to offer to your guests when they first foot you. And if nothing else, it’s sure to fill you up after a Loony Dook!

Scottish Black Bun recipe. Made with currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, almonds...


Shortcrust Pastry
The outer layer of your black bun is a basic shortcrust pastry. This is easy to make with some plain flour, butter/margarine, a pinch of salt and some cold water. If you’d rather though, you can of course use a ready-roll pastry.

Dried Fruit
You need a decent amount of dried fruit in your black bun mix. The combination and their quantities are up to you. I’d always recommend using a majority of currants if you can, as these fill the spaces in the mixture well. But you can also use sultanas and raisins; even dates, cranberries…whatever you have available. This is great recipe to use up the leftover dried fruit from your Christmas Cake.

Ginger, Cinnamon & Mixed Spice
A classic combo of flavour and spice. No fruit cake would be complete without some ground ginger, ground cinnamon and mixed spice.

Ground Black Pepper
A little bit different than your average fruit cake and an ingredient that might seem a bit odd. But being an authentic recipe for Black Bun, adding black pepper is a must.

Soft Light Brown Sugar
A little sweetness is needed to balance out the flavours in a black bun and my go-to is a light brown sugar. You can of course use a darker brown sugar if you prefer a richer flavour, or a caster sugar if you have that to hand.

Mixed Peel
A great addition to any fruitcake, if you ask me! It still amazes me that people aren’t a fan of mixed peel. However it is a great addition to your black bun, especially when you opt for orange juice in your mix, over whisky.

Flaked Almonds
To add a little texture to your black bun, flaked almonds are perfect. They lend a little bit of crunch, but not too much. You could experiment with using alternative nuts but I would recommend chopping them.

Whisky or Orange Juice
Talking tradition, you would of course use some whisky in your black bun. This is a Scottish recipe after all! But much like our Brandy Snaps recipe, if you’re not an alcohol drinker, don’t go rushing out to buy an expensive bottle of something you will never finish! Instead, use some orange juice. I promise you that it will still give you a wonderful Black Bun – even ask Papa!

Black Bun recipe from Scotland. Perfect for first footing on Hogmanay and New Years Day.
Black Bun recipe. Classic Scottish recipe for fruit cake, encased on shortcrust pastry.

Black Bun

Traditional Black Bun, perfect for first footing on Hogmanay and New Years Day.
5 from 1 vote
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Scottish
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours


For the Pastry

  • 300 g Plain Flour
  • 150 g Butter or Margarine ((cold, cubed))
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 4 tbsp Cold Water
  • 1 Free-range Egg ((beaten - for glazing))

For the Filling

  • 200 g Plain Flour
  • 450 g Dried Fruit ((currants, raisins, sultanas))
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 100 g Light Brown Sugar
  • 100 g Mixed Peel
  • 50 g Flaked Almonds
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 2 tbsp Whisky or Orange Juice
  • 1 Free-range Egg
  • 3 tbsp Milk


For the Pastry

  • Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter/margarine with your fingers, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  • Add the salt and 3-4 tablespoons of cold water and mix into a soft dough you'll probably need to use your hands).
  • Knead the dough together and form a ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge whilst you make your Black Bun filling.

For the Filling

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°c (160°c for fan assisted ovens or Gas Mark 4). Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin (or a 7 inch round cake tin) with greaseproof paper. Set aside.
  • Mix all the filling ingredients in a large bowl - is should be of a sticky consistency. Set aside.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out 2/3 of the pastry thinly. Drape into your pre-lined tin and press up against the sides.
  • Spoon in the filling to the pastry-lined tin and push down with the back of a spoon.
  • Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness as before, large enough to cover the top of your tin. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little water and press on top of your black bun to seal. Trim the edges and crimp with a fork to finish.
  • Glaze with a beaten egg, prick some holes in the top of the pastry and bake for 2 hours. If you feel your black bun is looking a little brown on top, cover with a sheet of tin foil half way through the bake time.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in tin before turning out to cut and serve.


For the filling, its personal preference which dried fruit you use. I tend to opt for whatever we have in - usually a combination of all currants, raisins & sultanas with amounts determined on how much I have to hand.
Tried this recipe?Tag @bakingwithgranny or use the hashtag #bakingwithgranny!
Black Bun recipe from Baking with Granny. Traditional recipe for Scottish Black Bun, best enjoyed at Hogmanay and New Years Day.
Black Bun recipe. Traditional recipe from Scotland, perfect for first footing on Hogmanay and New Year.
Black Bun recipe from Baking with Granny. Traditional Scottish recipe. Perfect for first footing on Hogmanay and New Years Day.

11 Responses

  1. Never heard of this before…how have I never heard of this before!!! We’re gluten free and dairy free in this house but I love a challenge and would love a go at this, wish me luck haha!

    1. 5 stars
      I have not made this recipe but made other rich fruit cakes using BUCKWHEAT flour with great success. Also successful in making the pastry for a black bun! Have a go with buckwheat in you’re baking. I have been on a gluten free diet now for over 40 years.

  2. OMG!! For years we have struggled to get Black Bun south of the border … hooray for my brother getting a job that sometimes takes him to Edinburgh – we always ask him to get some if he can … but a recipe to make our own?! THANK YOU x

  3. Does the one egg in the recipe go in the cake or is that just for the egg wash? And traditionally I have read it’s matured for a while would this keep well and mature?

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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