These cute Scottish Dundee cupcakes are a vegan twist on the traditional Dundee cake which is usually baked as a round cake and studded with almonds.
Dundee cake is a classic Scottish fruit cake that is lighter in texture compared with ordinary fruit cakes, and instead is packed with delicious orange and almond flavours.
Dundee cake has long been a favourite bake for celebrations such as Christmas, Birthdays, Robert Burns Supper, Mothering Sunday [Mothers Day], Easter etc...
Dundee cupcakes are ideal for those who enjoy fruit cakes but do not wish to bake an entire cake. Baking mini fruit cakes instead can save cooking fuel as they are quicker to bake, use less ingredients so they are more budget-friendly, and are easy to pack into lunchboxes and picnics, etc.
Quick history of Scottish Dundee cake
Dundee cake is believed to have originated in the city of Dundee in the late 18th century, where it was first made by the Keiller family, who were famous for their marmalade.
Originally known as "Keiller's Dundee cake," the recipe featured a rich mixture of butter, sugar, flour, and almonds, as well as dried fruit such as currants, raisins, and candied peel. The cake was traditionally served as a Christmas treat.
Dundee cake is said to have been a favorite of Queen Victoria [1819-1901], and it has remained a popular treat among members of the royal family ever since especially with the late Queen Elizabeth II [1926-2022] whom was known to be a fan of Dundee cake.
In fact, it is said that a Dundee cake was served at Queen Elizabeth's wedding to Prince Philip in 1947, and that she has enjoyed the cake on many occasions since then.
Over time, the popularity of Dundee cake spread beyond Scotland, and it became a popular dessert throughout the United Kingdom and beyond.
Today, Dundee cake remains a beloved Scottish delicacy, and its rich, fruity sweet and tangy orange flavor and light texture continue to be enjoyed by people around the world.
Dundee cake cupcakes are perfect for Afternoon tea parties and if your celebrating the British Kings coronation on the 6th May, 2023, a batch of these orange and almond flavoured cakes are the perfect addition.
How to prepare Scottish Dundee cake cupcakes
These vegan cupcakes are quick and easy to bake. After creaming the margarine and sugar together, everything else is added and mixed. The glaze is also easy to make, and can be prepared in just a few minutes.
First, add the margarine and sugar to a mixing bowl, and then cream them together using an electric hand whisk for 1-2 minutes.
Alternatively, you can use a wooden spoon/mixing spoon to mix the ingredients by hand.
Next, add the orange juice and marmalade to the mixture.
Sift in the flour and baking powder, and then add a pinch of salt, dried fruits, orange zest, and ground almonds (almond meal).
Give everything a good mix until well combined.
Divide the cake mixture evenly between 12 cupcake cases.
Gently press some flaked almonds onto the surface of each cupcake.
Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes.
To prepare the glaze, add marmalade and orange juice to a saucepan and stir them together.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside for a minute before using the glaze.
The cupcakes can be glazed while they are still warm and on the cooling rack.
Dundee cupcakes can be stored for up to a week within an airtight container. Wrap the cakes in parchment/baking paper and perhaps a layer of kitchen foil/aluminum foil for extra freshness.
Unglazed cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months, defrost at room temperature and glaze once thawed.
Mixed dried fruit typically refers to a blend of different types of dried fruits, which are often used in baking recipes like Christmas pudding, mince pies, and fruit cakes.
The exact composition of mixed dried fruit can vary depending on the brand and the recipe, but it usually includes a combination of raisins, currants, sultanas, and candied peel.
Raisins are dried grapes, currants are dried small, seedless grapes, and sultanas are dried white grapes. Candied peel is made from the peel of citrus fruits (such as oranges and lemons) that has been candied or preserved in sugar.
In addition to these common ingredients, some mixed dried fruit blends may also include other dried fruits like dried apricots, prunes, or figs, as well as glace cherries or cranberries. The mix of fruits adds a range of flavors, textures, and colors to home baking.
If you are unable to find pre-packaged mixed dried fruit, you can create your own blend using a combination of different dried fruits. Some good options for a mixed dried fruit substitute include:
Raisins: Raisins are a common ingredient in mixed dried fruit blends, so they are a good place to start. They are readily available in most grocery stores and can be used in place of some or all of the mixed dried fruit in a recipe.
Currants: Like raisins, currants are also commonly used in mixed dried fruit blends. They have a slightly tart flavor and are smaller in size than raisins.
Sultanas: Sultanas are another type of dried grape and can be used in place of raisins or currants. They are slightly sweeter and lighter in color than raisins.
Diced dried apricots: Dried apricots are a popular addition to mixed dried fruit blends and can add a nice sweetness and chewy texture to baked goods.
Dried cherries or cranberries: Dried cherries or cranberries can be used to add a pop of color and tartness to mixed dried fruit blends.
Candied peel: Candied peel, made from the candied rind of citrus fruits, is often included in mixed dried fruit blends. If you can't find it, you can try adding some grated orange or lemon zest for a similar flavor.
If using any dried fruit that is bigger than a raisin be sure and dice the fruit, so that it is similar in size to ordinary raisins.
Alternatively, for Dundee cupcakes simply use one type of dried fruit such as all currants, instead of a fruit mix.
Marmalade is a type of fruit preserve made from citrus fruits, typically oranges but lime, lemon and grapefruit can also be used.
Marmalade is prepared similar to fruit jam in that the fruits are boiled with sugar until it is nice and thick. The resulting marmalade is usually sweet, tangy with slight bitter notes.
Marmalade can be enjoyed on toast or bread, as a glaze for savoury dishes or as a baking ingredient. It is a popular condiment in the UK and is often associated with traditional British breakfasts.
Marmalade is also closely associated with Paddington Bear, a beloved character in British children's literature. Paddington Bear is often depicted as enjoying marmalade sandwiches, which are made by spreading marmalade between two slices of bread.
In fact, his love for marmalade is such an integral part of his character that it has become one of his defining traits. As a result, many people now associate marmalade with Paddington Bear and his adventures in London.
Dundee cake is a type of fruit cake, but it has a slightly different texture. It is not as moist as a rich fruit cake, but it is not dry either. Instead, it has a crumbly, buttery texture similar to a lemon Madeira cake or a pound cake.
Unlike traditional fruit cakes, Dundee cake does not contain spices. Instead, it has a pleasant citrusy orange flavor, and ground almonds are added to the mixture, giving it a nutty flavour and lighter texture than a heavier fruit cake.
Also, the addition of ground almonds gives the cake subtle almond flavours that are reminiscent of a tasty Bakewell Tart.
Dundee cake also contains a lesser amount of fruit than traditional fruit cakes and when sliced, Dundee cakes are generally lighter in color compared to a classic fruit cake that gets its darker color from the addition of spices.
Many people who dislike ordinary fruit cakes do enjoy Dundee cake, so it's definitely worth a try!
More traditional Scottish bakes:
Scottish Dundee Cake Cupcakes
- 1 12 cup fairy cake/muffin/cupcake baking tin
- 12 fairy cake or cupcake baking cases
- fruit zester
- electric hand whisk optional, as can just mix by hand with a mixing spoon
- 175 grams plain flour [or all-purpose flour]
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 100 grams vegan margarine [use one that's fine for baking such as Stork]
- 100 grams granulated sugar [or caster sugar]
- 100 grams mixed dried fruit [usually comes as a mix of sultanas, raisins, currants and fruit peel the one intended for fruit cakes, puddings etc] [or just use one fruit such as sultanas]
- 70 grams orange marmalade
- 5 tablespoons orange juice [use fresh orange either from an orange or from a carton]
- 1 medium orange [use a grater/zester to remove the zest]
- 25 grams ground almonds [almond meal]
- 20 grams flaked almonds [may require more or less]
- 2 tablespoon marmalade
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180C / 356 Fahrenheit / Gas 4.
- Add a baking case to each cup in the baking tin.
- Cream the margarine and sugar together either by hand with a mixing spoon or for a few seconds with an electric hand whisk.100 grams vegan margarine, 100 grams granulated sugar
- Scoop in the marmalade and pour in the orange juice.70 grams orange marmalade, 5 tablespoons orange juice
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, and then add the salt along with the mixed dried fruit, ground almonds, and orange zest.175 grams plain flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 pinch of salt, 100 grams mixed dried fruit, 1 medium orange, 25 grams ground almonds
- Give it all a good mix until its just combined.
- Divide the cake batter between the 12 cupcake cases.
- Level the cakes out a little and gently press the flaked almonds over the surface.20 grams flaked almonds
- Bake on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes until they are risen [but do note that the tops will not be peaked rather the surface will be flatter than a cupcake and more like a fruit cake in appearance]. The cupcakes will also be firm to the touch and a skewer popped in the middle will be clean.
- [I used an electric oven and my cakes were baked after 23 minutes at 180C]Fan ovens tend to bake faster so check your cakes at the 20 minute mark just to see how they are doing.
- After a few minutes in the baking tin, remove the cakes and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Optional glaze: [prepare once the cakes have been removed from the oven]
- Add the marmalade and orange juice to a small saucepan, and use a cutlery [tableware] fork to mix the marmalade into the juice.Bring to a gentle simmer or boil, and cook for 2 minutes giving it several stirs with the fork.Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a minute before brushing the glaze over each cupcake. The cupcakes can be glazed while still warm.2 tablespoon marmalade, 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not an exact calculation as ingredients vary.
- Nutritional information includes the topping and optional but highly recommended glaze.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 5 days, perhaps a day or two longer.
- Wrap the cakes in a layer of parchment paper/baking paper and a second layer of kitchen foil/aluminium foil to keep fresher for longer. Add a layer of baking paper between each layer of cakes as this will prevent the glaze sticking to the bottom of the cupcakes on top.
- Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before adding the glaze.
- If the orange glaze sits in the pan for too long it may become too thick to brush over the cupcakes. Simply warm the glaze over a low heat and it will become looser.
- Stork margarine was used for this recipe.
- Duerrs marmalade was used for this recipe but any type of orange marmalade is fine including supermarket value brands.
- If packets of mixed dried fruit are unavailable then use a mixture of currants, sultanas, raisins and candied peel, or simply use one dried fruit such as all raisins [see the recipe notes above this recipe for more information]
- Dundee cupcakes are great for those who enjoy fruit cakes but do not wish to bake an entire cake. Baking cupcakes instead can save cooking fuel as they are quicker to bake, use less ingredients so they are more budget-friendly, and are easy to pack for lunchboxes, picnics, potlucks, etc.
- If you're in the US or are more familiar with using cup measurements, I highly recommend investing in an inexpensive digital kitchen scale, especially for recipes that use grams or ounces. Accurate measurements ensure greater success when baking. That way you won't have to miss out on these tasty traditional recipes 🙂
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