Dundee Cake

Published by Amy

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Dundee Cake - Deliciously sweet, Scottish fruit cake. Topped with blanched almonds.

When it comes to cake, I still feel like I’m on a journey of discovery. Cakes were always what Granny made when I was growing up and as such, I never really took to them. Too much of a good thing! But since growing up and moving away from home, I have rediscovered cake in all it’s glory. The latest cake to join my newly discovered all-time favourites is Dundee Cake.

Originating from where it’s name would suggest, Dundee Cake is a sweet fruit cake which is easily recognisable from its circles of blanched almonds that crown it’s top. Inside is a delicious melody of dried fruits, completed by the addition of mixed peel – giving it that distinct citrus flavour.

As far a cakes go, like most fruit cakes, Dundee Cake is a heavy cake. One best enjoyed on a cold day with a cup of tea. It’s said to have come about in the nineteenth century and was the creation of the Kelliers (the family behind Kellier’s Marmalade) as a way to use up the leftover orange peels from their production of marmalade.

Dundee Cake - Deliciously sweet, Scottish fruit cake. Topped with blanched almonds.

Cherries in a Dundee Cake?

In comparison to some other Dundee Cake recipes, you might notice a lack of glace cherries. This was something that Granny and I discussed at great length and it was decided that real Dundee Cake does not have cherries. Probably because cherries were not as easily accessible at the time of creation but eventually came as an addition to some recipes over time.

It is also said that Mary Queen of Scots was not a fan of cherries and Dundee Cake was in fact a fruit cake made with her tastes in mind. Whatever the reason, leave the cherries out on this one – trust us, you really don’t need them.

Dundee Cake - Deliciously sweet, Scottish fruit cake. Topped with blanched almonds.

Dundee Cake

5 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours



  • Pre-heat your oven to 150°c (130°c for fan assisted ovens or Gas Mark 2). Grease and line a 9 inch cake tin with grease-proof paper, with the paper being a couple of inches taller than the tin.
  • Add your blanched almonds to a bowl of boiling water and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, ensuring they are well mixed before adding the next.
  • Sift in the flour, spices and salt. Add the dried fruits and mixed peel. Mix all until combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to your prepared tin. Drain the blanched almonds from the water and arrange in circles on top of your cake.
  • Bake in your pre-heated oven for 2 hours, keeping a close eye – if you think your cake is looking golden before the 2 hours is up, pop a sheet of tin foil over the top to prevent it over baking and cracking.
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Dundee Cake - Deliciously sweet, Scottish fruit cake. Topped with blanched almonds.

12 Responses

    1. If you are not in the U.K., try looking for pumpkin pie spice of apple pie spice blend instead. It’s basically a mix of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, and ginger, or similar.

  1. I see what you did there “journey of discovery” when talking about Dundee cake… Dundee being the city of discovery.

    I’ve not made it yet, but it looks delicious. We always make your pancakes and lemon drizzle.

  2. 5 stars
    I see that on your home page you state that the recipes are metric friendly. You seem to have turned your back on the units that Granny would have used and the ones I use. This is a shame because I would otherwise share tips on how to improve the Dundee cake recipe.

    1. Hi Theo. Thanks for your feedback.

      The idea with Baking with Granny is to translate and share traditional recipes that we all know and love, to units which people will understand in the UK. The metric system has been in place here since 1965 and so you’ll find all our recipes (as well as most recipes now developed in the UK) will follow this.

      As it turns out, a lot of Granny’s recipes are in the metric system, as well as many in imperial: as she was baking during the transition period of imperial to metric we have a bit of mixture.

      Have you tried our Dundee Cake recipe? I’d love to hear your feedback on that if you have :)

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made many recipes of Dundee cake including one from my favourite British cousin. However, this one is by far the best recipe. So delicious. Freezes really well also. Very moist and flavourful. A little hint to those in North America. Is that mixed spice is not allspice. If you google it you will find the easy recipe to make your own. I’m an expat English and Scottish and renewing our vows in Scotland next April. This is the wedding cake I’m flying over from Canada with. You don’t need to convert to imperial just use a scale.

  4. 5 stars
    You are spot on with your recipe. I have been researching Dundee Cake and was interested to see that the original cake did not have glace cherries in it. Now I am interested to see which of our current cooks/chefs include those glaces!!
    Your recipe obviously is just how it should be unlike others by well-known names! Congratulations to you and your Granny!

  5. 5 stars
    I have used your recipe for 3 years now. As the New Year approaches, I am now getting repeat requests from friends and neighbours! I dont mind – bringing a little Scottish cheer to Ecuador! Time consuming though! Anne

  6. I love this recipe. I added 1/4 c of whiskey to the batter as I hadn’t soaked the fruit, added 100 gm of cherries because I had them to use up. It didn’t need to be bathed in whiskey and it was delicious. I love that this recipe didn’t need to have marmalade in it. My daughter who doesn’t like fruitcake judged it as delicious. The almond citrus combination is a knock out .

  7. If the Keiller’s created the recipe to use up leftover orange peel (which does not occur when making marmalade) and did not add cherries to meet the taste of Mary, Queen of Scots, then Mary would have had to have lived a further 200 years than she did. Keiller began producing their marmalade in the 1760s by which time Mary had been dead for 200 years. Marmalade predated the Keillers by about another 200 years at least.

    In any good, actually Scottish, recipe, you will find cherries in Dundee cake. However, looking at the above comments it seems few care about authenticity anyway as most want to adulterate our tradition with things which do not belong………………like sugar on porridge.

  8. 5 stars
    I have made this cake 3 times exactly as in the recipe and don’t feel it needs anything extra, always moist packed with fruit and keeps so well.

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Hi! I'm Amy

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

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