Have you ever heard of the traditional Scots studs? It’s a Christmas cake that is most commonly eaten at tea time. In terms of appearance, it is immediately recognizable by its dark caramelization and the typical concentrically arranged almonds. From the first bite of this wonderfully aromatic and delicious cake, you can quickly understand why the Dundee cake is one of the culinary treasures of Scotland. Not only that, it’s also one of Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill’s favorite cakes. Nowadays there are endless variations of the Dundee cake with many different combinations of ingredients and preparation methods. In today’s article, however, we are going to share with you the original recipe of the Dundee cake, also tell you a little bit about its exciting story. Just read on!

A traditional Christmas cake from Scotland, the best alternative to stollen

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This cake can be made and enjoyed all year round

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Even the Queen is a huge fan of Dundee cake

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Brief History of the Dundee Cake

While the exact origins of the original Dundee cake are unclear, many historians believe it dates back to the 17th century and is attributed to Queen Mary I of Scotland. The monarch was not a big fan of the traditional fear cake popular at the time. The court cook therefore made a cake for her that only contained raisins, sultanas and almonds, but also a unique ingredient that would forever set the dessert apart from everyone else – bitter oranges. These fruits were imported from Spain to the Scottish port city of Dundee at the time. The cake was a hit and was named to the city. Dundee cakes were first marketed to the public in the 18th century. Today they are among the most popular tea cakes in Great Britain.

A Christmas cake with an exciting origin

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You can of course add other fruits to your Dundee cake

Christmas cake from Scotland - traditionally preparing Dundee cake

A garden or tea party is totally incomplete without this cake

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The original Dundee cake recipe

Many variations of the original recipe have been made since the 18th century. Traditionally, besides the basic ingredients of every cake (flour, butter, sugar, eggs, baking powder and salt), the only other ingredients in an authentic Dundee are just raisins, sultanas, almonds, bitter orange peel and jam. No other candied or dried fruits are added, no spices and no rum or brandy, which are typical of the German Stollen and the English fruit cake.

What sets the Dundee cake apart from all other tea cakes is its unique bittersweet orange taste – all other ingredients should emphasize this. A real Dundee is a fluffy cake with a delicate taste that is the perfect addition to tea time. It’s surprisingly easy to make, as long as you have all the ingredients on hand, and can be eaten the same day. For a Dundee cake made from the original recipe, all you need is:

  • 175 g butter, softened
  • 175 g of brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • Peel of a bitter orange
  • 5 tbsp bitter orange jam
  • 225 g all-purpose flour
  • 40 g almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 200 g raisins and sultanas
  • 20-25 whole peeled almonds

Of course, the cake bakes faster in smaller molds

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Worth knowing: The color of the outer caramelization changes depending on the choice of fruit

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Step by step recipe instructions:

To begin with, grease a 20 cm springform pan with butter or line it with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. In the meantime, beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl until airy and creamy. Gradually stir in eggs with a teaspoon of flour to prevent curdling. Add the orange peel and jam and beat together well.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and almond flour in a separate bowl and stir. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix carefully so that the dough stays airy. Finally fold in the raisins and sultanas. Pour the dough into the prepared springform pan and smooth it out. Arrange the almonds in concentric circles on the cake.

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tip: You can also easily blanch almonds yourself. To do this, put the nuts in boiling water and let them soak for about a minute. The skins then slip off as soon as they are sieved.

No need to buy pre-skinned almonds

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Place the cake on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1:30 to 2 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the cake browns too quickly but is still raw inside, quickly cover it with some aluminum foil. Remove the baked cake from the springform pan after about 10 minutes and let it cool completely.

Dundee cake is best served at tea time or with morning coffee. For a festive Christmas look, you can sprinkle some powdered sugar over it or drizzle homemade vanilla sauce over it. Bon Appetit!

Vanilla sauce goes very well with the bittersweet taste of the Dundee cake

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With a little brandy syrup, the Dundee tastes a little like marzipan

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Fruity muffins for on the go

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No jam? You can also do this yourself – Recipe here!

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Christmas cake to enjoy

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