Delia Smith Dundee Cake Recipe

Delia Smith Dundee Cake Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 2 Hr Total Time: 2 Hr 20 Mins

Delia Smith Dundee Cake stands out as a traditional Scottish fruit cake, known for its rich and moist texture. This cake, originating from Dundee, Scotland, offers a delightful blend of dried fruits, nuts, and a hint of whisky. Its almond topping is not just a treat to the eye but also adds a wonderful crunchy texture, contrasting beautifully with the cake’s softness.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of making this exquisite cake, offering tips to guarantee a perfect bake every time. Additionally, you’ll gain insights into the cake’s rich history and best practices for storage and serving.

What is Delia Smith Dundee Cake?

Delia Smith Dundee cake is a type of fruit cake that is made with dried fruits, candied peel, whisky, and almonds. It is a traditional Scottish cake that is named after the city of Dundee, where it was first created by the marmalade company Keiller’s. It is a moist and rich cake that has a distinctive almond topping and a citrusy flavor.

Delia Smith Dundee Cake

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Why This Recipe Is a Favorite:

  • Ease of Preparation: The recipe is straightforward and uses readily available ingredients.
  • Customizability: You can tailor the cake to your taste, using various dried fruits, nuts, and spices, or opting for a non-alcoholic version.
  • Versatility for Occasions: Ideal for any gathering, this cake is sure to please.
  • Flavorful and Satisfying: The cake offers a perfect balance of moist texture, crunchy topping, and a blend of sweet, tangy, and spicy notes.

Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Smith Dundee Cake

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 175 g (6 oz) currants
  • 175 g (6 oz) sultanas
  • 175 g (6 oz) raisins
  • 50 g (2 oz) mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons whisky
  • 225 g (8 oz) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 225 g (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 225 g (8 oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 50 g (2 oz) ground almonds
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 50 g (2 oz) whole blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam

Useful Equipment

  • a large mixing bowl
  • a small bowl
  • a sieve
  • a wooden spoon
  • an electric mixer or a whisk
  • a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin
  • baking parchment
  • a skewer
  • a wire rack
  • a small saucepan
  • a pastry brush

Instructions to Make You will need the following ingredients


  1. The night before you make the cake, place the currants, sultanas, raisins, and candied peel in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the whisky over them and toss well to coat. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave it in a cool place overnight. This will allow the fruits to soak up the whisky and become plump and juicy.
  2. The next day, preheat your oven to 140°C (275°F, gas mark 1). Grease your cake tin and line it with baking parchment. Cut a circle of parchment to fit the bottom of the tin, and a long strip to fit around the sides, with some extra to fold over the edge of the tin. This will prevent the cake from burning or drying out in the oven.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, salt, nutmeg, and mixed spice. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer or a whisk, until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks curdled, don’t worry, it will come together once you add the flour.
  6. Fold in the ground almonds, lemon zest, and orange zest with a wooden spoon.
  7. Fold in the soaked fruits and any remaining whisky, and mix well to distribute them evenly.


  1. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of the spoon. Arrange the whole blanched almonds on top of the cake in concentric circles, pressing them lightly into the batter.
  2. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Check the cake after 2 1/2 hours, and cover it loosely with foil if it is browning too quickly.
  3. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool slightly in the tin. Meanwhile, heat the apricot jam in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until melted and smooth. Strain the jam through a sieve to remove any lumps.
  4. Brush the warm jam over the top of the cake, covering the almonds and the edges. Let the cake cool completely in the tin before removing it.


  • Your Delia Smith’s Dundee cake is ready! Enjoy it as it is, or serve it with some whipped cream or custard. You can also wrap the cake in foil and store it in an airtight container for up to a month, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • To serve the cake, cut it into slices and place them on a serving plate. You can also warm the cake slices in the oven or microwave, and serve them with some ice cream or sorbet. Alternatively, you can serve the cake with some fresh fruits or berries, for a fresh and juicy contrast.

Delia Smith Dundee Cake Recipe

What Do I Serve With Delia Smith Dundee Cake?

Delia Smith’s Dundee Cake, with its rich texture and complex flavors, is delightful on its own, but pairing it with the right accompaniments can elevate the overall experience.

Here are some refined suggestions:

  • Whipped Cream or Custard: A dollop of lightly whipped cream or a smooth custard can create a delightful contrast with the cake’s dense texture. These additions not only offer a creamy complement but also subtly cut through the richness, bringing a balanced harmony to each bite.
  • Ice Cream or Sorbet: Consider serving the cake with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or a refreshing sorbet. The cool and creamy ice cream pairs wonderfully with the warm, spiced notes of the cake, while a sorbet, particularly citrus or berry-flavored, can introduce a zesty, refreshing element.
  • Fresh Fruits or Berries: Fresh, seasonal fruits or a selection of berries can add a vibrant, juicy element to the plate. This not only enhances the visual appeal with a pop of color but also injects a fresh, natural sweetness and a boost of vitamins, perfectly complementing the nutty and fruity flavors of the cake.

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Pro Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith Dundee Cake

To ensure your Delia Smith Dundee Cake is as delightful as intended, here are some expert tips:

  • Soaking the Fruits: Immersing the dried fruits and candied peel in whisky overnight is crucial for achieving a rich, full-bodied flavor. The fruits absorb the whisky, becoming sumptuously plump. You can also experiment with brandy, rum, or sherry for different flavor nuances.
  • Creaming Butter and Sugar: For a light and airy texture, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly until fluffy. This step is vital for a well-risen, soft cake. Ensure the butter is at room temperature and the sugar is finely granulated for the best results.
  • Folding Technique: Gently fold in the flour and fruits to keep the cake tender and prevent it from becoming overly dense. A delicate hand ensures even distribution of fruits without overworking the batter.
  • Almond Arrangement: Arrange the almonds neatly atop the cake for an aesthetically pleasing finish. This not only adds to the cake’s charm but also introduces a delightful crunch, contrasting the moist interior. Opt for blanched almonds for a neat presentation.
  • Optimal Baking: Slow baking in a low-temperature oven is key for a moist, tender cake. Using a round or square tin lined with parchment prevents the edges from drying out or burning. If the cake is browning too quickly, loosely cover it with foil.

Variations of Delia Smith Dundee Cake

Delia Smith’s Dundee Cake is wonderfully adaptable, allowing for creative variations to suit different tastes:

  • Chocolate Dundee Cake: For a chocolate twist, mix cocoa powder and chocolate chips into the batter. After baking, a drizzle of melted chocolate over the top adds an indulgent touch, perfect for chocolate aficionados.
  • Tropical Dundee Cake: Swap some traditional dried fruits with tropical varieties like pineapple, mango, papaya, and coconut for an exotic twist. This version is refreshing and adds an intriguing tropical flair.
  • Spicy Dundee Cake: Incorporating spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg can intensify the cake’s warmth and aroma. A sprinkle of demerara sugar before baking adds a subtle crunch and spice-infused sweetness, perfect for those who enjoy a bit of heat.

How do I store Delia Smith Dundee Cake Leftovers?

Delia Smith Dundee cake is a long-lasting cake that can be stored for up to a month, or frozen for up to 3 months. Here are some tips on how to store it properly:

In an airtight container

  • Wrap the cake in foil and place it in an airtight container. This will keep the cake moist and fresh, and prevent it from drying out or going stale.
  • Store the container in a cool and dry place, such as a pantry or a cupboard. This will protect the cake from heat and humidity, and prevent it from molding or spoiling.
  • Enjoy the cake within a month, or freeze it for longer storage.

In the freezer

  • Cut the cake into slices and wrap each slice in cling film. This will make it easier to thaw and serve the cake and prevent it from sticking together or breaking apart.
  • Place the wrapped slices in a freezer bag or a container, and label it with the date and name of the cake. This will help you identify and organize the cake, and keep track of its shelf life.
  • Freeze the bag or container in a flat and stable position, and avoid stacking or squeezing it. This will preserve the shape and texture of the cake, and prevent it from cracking or crumbling.
  • Thaw the cake at room temperature for a few hours, or in the microwave for a few minutes, before serving.

How do I reheat Delia Smith Dundee Cake Leftovers?

Delia Smith Dundee cake can be enjoyed cold or warm, depending on your preference and mood. Here are some ways to reheat it:

In the oven

  • Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F, gas mark 3).
  • Place the cake slices on a baking tray and cover them loosely with foil. This will prevent the cake from burning or drying out, and retain its moisture and flavor.
  • Bake the cake slices for 10 to 15 minutes, or until warm and soft.
  • Serve the cake slices with some whipped cream or custard, if desired.

In the microwave

  • Place the cake slices on a microwave-safe plate and cover them loosely with a damp paper towel. This will prevent the cake from hardening or drying out, and add some moisture and steam to the cake.
  • Microwave the cake slices for 30 to 60 seconds, or until warm and soft. You may need to adjust the time and power depending on your microwave and the size of the cake slices.
  • Serve the cake slices with some ice cream or sorbet, if desired.

Nutrition Value (Per serving)

  • Calories: 452 kcals
  • Fat: 19.4 g (7.7 g saturated)
  • Protein: 8.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 56.1 g (33.3 g sugars)
  • Fiber: 2.1 g
  • Salt: 0.5 g


Can I make Delia Smith’s Dundee Cake without alcohol?

Yes, you can make this cake without alcohol. Instead of whisky, you can soak the dried fruits in orange juice or a non-alcoholic substitute like apple juice or tea. This will still give the fruits a juicy, flavorful boost without the alcohol content.

How long can I store Delia Smith’s Dundee Cake?

Dundee Cake stores exceptionally well. Once cooled and stored in an airtight container, it can last up to a month at room temperature. For longer storage, you can wrap the cake in foil and keep it in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for up to three months. You can also freeze the cake for up to six months.

What are the best-dried fruits to use in Delia Smith’s Dundee Cake?

Traditionally, the recipe includes currants, sultanas, and raisins. However, you can experiment with other dried fruits like dried cherries, apricots, or cranberries. The key is to balance the flavors and textures to complement the overall taste of the cake.

Is it necessary to decorate the cake with almonds?

While the almonds are a traditional and decorative element of the Dundee Cake, they are not essential. You can either omit them or replace them with other nuts like pecans or walnuts for a different flavor and texture. However, keep in mind that almonds do add a distinctive taste and crunch to the cake.

Can I use regular sugar instead of light brown sugar in the recipe?

Yes, you can use regular granulated sugar, but light brown sugar is recommended for its moisture and flavor. Brown sugar adds a subtle molasses-like sweetness and helps to create a moister crumb. If you substitute with white sugar, the cake will have a slightly different texture and taste.

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to make Delia Smith’s Dundee cake. This cake is a classic and delicious treat that is easy to make and perfect for any occasion. It is rich, moist, and full of flavor, with a crunchy and nutty almond topping. It is a great cake for Christmas, Easter, or any other special occasion, or simply for enjoying with a cup of tea or coffee.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you and see how your cake turned out. Thank you for reading and happy baking!

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