Dundee cake

Prep: 35 mins Cook: 1 hr, 45 mins


Serves 16

A famous traditional Scottish fruitcake with cherries, sultanas and almonds, and a sweet glaze

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal373
  • fat17.2g
  • saturates6.7g
  • carbs48.4g
  • sugars38.6g
  • fibre2.2g
  • protein6.3g
  • salt0.2g
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  • 100g blanched almond
  • 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 180g light muscovado sugar
  • zest 1 large orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 3 tbsp apricot jam or marmalade
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 3 large egg, beaten
  • 100g ground almond
  • 2 tbsp milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 500g mixed dried fruit
  • 100g whole glacé cherry


  • 1 tbsp milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 2 tsp caster sugar


  1. Put the almonds into a small bowl and pour over boiling water to just cover. Leave for 5 mins then drain in a sieve and leave to dry.

  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/160 C fan/Gas Mark 4. Line a deep loose-based 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.

  3. Put the butter in a large bowl and beat well until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the orange zest and apricot jam.

  4. Sieve together the flour and baking powder. Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle, stir in a little flour.

  5. Add the remaining flour and ground almonds and mix well. Mix in the milk and then add the dried fruit and cherries and mix gently together.

  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread level using the back of a spoon. Arrange the whole almonds close together in neat circles on the top of the cake. Bake in the oven for 45 mins.

  7. Lower the oven temperature to 160C/140 C fan/Gas Mark 3 and cook for a further 60–80 minutes. Check the cake after 50 minutes by inserting a wooden or metal skewer into the cake. When it’s done it should have just a few crumbs attached. Check every 10 minutes - it’s important not to overcook this cake so the centre will be a little soft.

  8. When cooked, remove the cake briefly from the oven, put the milk and sugar into a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Brush over the top of the cake and return the cake to the oven for 2-3 mins. Remove and allow the cake to cool in the tin. When quite cold remove from the tin and wrap in foil and keep for at least 2 days before cutting.

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Comments (22)

Melpomene's picture

At the time of writing this comment, the recipe says to cook at 170C / Gas Mark 5. 170C is actually equivalent to Gas Mark 3, not Gas Mark 5. Based on the long cooking time I baked the cake at Gas Mark 3 and after the time specified in the recipe it was fully baked, brown and firm on the edges. I'm glad I didn't cook at Gas Mark 5. I've emailed the site editors suggesting they check/amend the cooking temperature.

My cake is currently resting for the recommended two days, so I can't comment on the taste!

CookDoc's picture

I love fruit cakes, but this has to be the best one I have ever tasted. I only had a fork to mix all the ingredients, but it came out perfectly. I did use more whole cherries because I love them. Will be baking this one regularly. Thank you so much.

igrovenstein's picture

I'm not the greatest baker and normally not keen on fruit cake, but I made this for my husband's birthday and it turned out wonderfully. Truly delicious and easy to make!

Mimi Fontaine's picture

Absolutely delicious cake. I'd never made a rich fruit cake before and was a bit apprehensive but this recipe is really simple and the result is fantastic. Go for it!

Stop_It_Aggers's picture

Only 10 degrees between gas mark 5 and gas mark 2? I think you mean GM3 rather than GM5.

Our family recipe involves two "feeds" of whisky/brandy applied to holes in the base in the days/weeks after baking - it tastes better and helps the dryness which it can be prone to. I keep meaning to presoak the fruit in whisky but forget.

I understand the marmalade with the Dundee connection, but it seems a bit weird. I'd prefer an orange and lemon to a big orange, and I like a pinch of mixed spice.

NearMayhem's picture

I really wish I had read the comments before making this cake. I managed to salvage it, but cooking at gm5 (trusting that the recipe was accurate) almost left me with a burned and useless mess.
I know that gas ovens aren't the norm these days, but surely this should be checked and modified?

LopaP's picture

This was my first ever attempt at a fruitcake.
I also soaked the fruit for 24 hours in a mix of cherry brandy and Cointreau which I think added to the taste. I also used marmalade as I don't like apricots and managed to leave the cake for the full two days wrapped in foil.
The outside was slightly overdone which made me think that it would be dry but the cake went down extremely well with my colleagues.
Can't wait to try it again.

Lauren O'Hara's picture

This cake was nice and easy to make. Not sure how it is going to turn out yet as it is in the oven and minus a fair bit of the mixture as it was delicious to eat before it was cooked! I used ginger marmalade. I don't like marmalade and I couldn't taste it in the mixture so I don't think it will be too sweet or over powering.

sulkybumblebee's picture

My first attempt at a Dundee cake; I found this really easy to follow and even easier to eat. I should have left it longer before diving in because it was getting better as the week went on. Just getting the ingredients ready to make another one. I followed the recipe to the letter, including the cooking time and it was absolutely spot on.

mamma mia's picture

This is a lovely cake- I often don't put the almonds on top but instead cover it with marzipan and icing (once cooked and cooled) and use as a celebration/xmas cake; definitely use marmalade as jam is too sweet

lizleicester's picture

What a lovely looking cake this is. It's enjoying its 2 day rest before being taken north of the border to Scotland! (Coals to Newcastle and all that...)

Cakenut's picture

This is not a Dundee cake. Dundee cake has no cherries, that's kind of the point of a Dundee cake.

barbsbaking's picture

It's true that the traditional recipe doesn't contain glacé cherries and also true that it usually contains whisky rather than milk (unless you are strictly tee total). My friend's very Scottish mum made wonderful Dundee cake. She always used caster sugar though and the resulting crumb was quite light in colour. She used lemon zest rather than orange and she definitely added marmalade. I use her recipe but admit to adding glace cherries as I like them. If it's not strictly Dundee cake any more it's an extremely nice light fruit cake.

Thejoker01's picture

This is a delicious Dundee Cake but I must say I didn't cook it for more than 1 hour as it just didn't seem to need it and was browning quite a bit at the edges the first time I cooked it with the longer time. A shorter cook time left you with a more moist cake.

cmbruessel's picture

Absolutely brilliant result! Infused the fruits with some brandy to add an extra kick and didn't leave it to sit for 2 days as it was just too irresistible but the flavour was still wonderful. Really great recipe.

sweetsuzi's picture

Ive been making Dundee Cake for years. Ive never added jam to the recipe but I always squeeze the juice from the orange instead. I also add some chopped nuts to add to the flavour. The chopped nuts are usually found next to the ground almonds in most supermarkets. Cooking tip: My cookery teacher at school always made us sprinkle a teaspoon of sieved flour as soon as we added the eggs to prevent them from curdling. I always pour the eggs in gradually a few drops at a time along with a teaspoon of the sieved flour, mix gently and continue this until you've used up all the eggs, this will ensure you never curdle the mixture.

cupcakewales's picture

I shall be making this as it is tradition to have this cake for christmas,my nan and my mum made this every year....

ilovejackson's picture

I made this cake for fathers day. It's turned out very well.

xxangelx76xx's picture

I made this with homemade marmalade which didn't make it too sweet at all. It's the best fruit cake I've made will definitely make this again.

fionnuala21's picture

I've been wanting to make a fruitcake for ages, but been too scared to try! I gave this a go and it turned out pretty well (I used St Dalfour Apricot jam, and only used 2 tbsp because of the comment above - I didn't think it was too sweet). The fruit didn't sink to the bottom as I've heard can happen, and it tastes pretty good. The only problem I had was that I overcooked the outside. I think I've seen other recipes where you wrap paper around the outside of the tin or something - does anyone know if that would work?


Questions (3)

scorpion24's picture

I seem to be having trouble with the fruit falling to the bottom of the cake.
Has someone an answer to this.

Melpomene's picture

Dust the fruit with flour before adding it.

imkefromgermany's picture

When you say: dried fruit, what is it: raisins , sultanas...?

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