> British and Regional Recipes

Dundee Cake Recipe


Updated 19/03/2015

James Maddock

Dundee cake is arguably the most famous fruit cake to hail from the British Isles; legend has it that the first Dundee cake was baked for Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century. The story goes that she wanted a cake baked for her that didn't include any cherries and the Dundee cake was born!

Whether or not there is any truth to this story, the first Dundee cake as we know it today was certainly produced by the Dundee based business Keiller. Janet Keiller originally founded the company in the late 18th century when her company became the first to create a commercial brand of marmalade. Her son James took over running the business in 1828 and his major contribution was to develop and sell a cake which utilised the large quatities of fruit left over from the marmalade making process.

Of course, as with many old recipes, there are plenty of arguments to this day as to what should or should not be in a Dundee cake. In order to gain European protected name status, a group of Dundee bakers have even met to try and decide once and for all what the official recipe should be. I'm not sure if they ever managed to come to any meaningful conclusion but this much is for certain: a true Dundee cake should always have split almonds cooked on top of it and must never contain glace cherries.


  • 1/2 lb (1 American cup) butter
  • 1/2 lb (1 American cup) caster/superfine sugar
  • 1/2 lb (2 American cups) + 2 tablespoons self raising flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons candied peel
  • 8oz (2 American cups) mixed currants and sultanas
  • 4 tablespoons blanched almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon of organic milk
(see measure conversions for more information)


  • Cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon.
  • Beat the eggs.
  • Gradually add half the eggs to the sugar and butter, beating well.
  • Next fold in half the flour with a metal spoon.
  • Add the rest of the egg, again beating well.
  • Fold in the rest of the flour with the fruit, peel and half of the almonds.
  • Lastly add the bicarbonate of soda dissolved in the milk.
  • Turn into an 8 inch tin lined with greaseproof paper.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the almonds onto the top of the cake and bake for 2 1/2 hours at 150 degrees centigrade (see temperature conversions).

Yield: 1 cake