Traditional Scottish Dessert Recipes

Grannie's traditional Scottish dessert recipes will let you experience the Scottish Highlands. As Grannie would say, "'Tis a wee taste of Old Scotland here!"

Just wait till you taste the authentic Dundee Cake, Black Buns, Fruitcake, and Gordon Highlander Gingerbread made from these traditional Old Country recipes.

Traditional Scottish Dessert Recipes Loved by Grannie Bell

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (1920s)

Dundee CakeScottish Dundee Cake Decorated With Almonds
(Source: ©monkeybusiness/

Check out the traditional Scottish dessert recipes I've chosen for you from Grannie's favorites. Enjoy trying the actual desserts that my Grannie Bell loved to make.

Scottish Dundee Cake

Dundee Cake is delicious for serving on any special occasion, but it's also considered the traditional Scottish Christmas Cake.

8 ounces butter
8 ounces sugar
4 eggs
10 ounces flour
Orange rind
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 ounces ground almonds
1 pound dried fruits
4 ounces candied peels
Blanched almonds

Line an 8-inch pie pan with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Thoroughly cream the butter and sugar together. Slowly beat in the eggs, adding a little flour to prevent curdling. Stir in orange rind to taste.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Fold the flour mixture into the creamed mixture and add the almonds, fruits, and candied peels.

Spoon batter into the pie tin, smoothing the surface while indenting the center slightly so it won't rise higher than the sides. Place blanched almonds on top to decorate and brush the top with beaten egg white.

Bake for about 3 hours or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean as a whistle.

Scottish Black Buns

1/2 pound flour, 1 pound raisins, 1 pound currents, 1/4 pound sugar, 2 ounces blanched almonds, 2 ounces candied peel, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon or spices, 1/4 teaspoon Jamaica pepper, 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1/2 teaspoon soda, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1 teacup sweet milk or old ale may be used instead.

With the hand mix well in a basin all above ingredients. Line a cake tin with a plain short crust rolled out very thin, and put the mixture in this prepared tin, and roll out the scraps of paste to cover top.

Wet well the edges. Place top cover on and press well around the edges. Prick top with a fork, and brush over with sweet milk. Bake in a moderate oven (375°F) for at least 3 hours. Serve with butter or jam.

Butter Tablet / Scottish Confection

Scottish Butter TabletMake Your Own Scottish Butter Tablet
(Source: ©andreaobzerova/

Castor Sugar

In the USA substitute Super Fine sugar, a.k.a. Bar Sugar. In Canada use Super Fine or Berry Sugar. These sugars are finely ground yet not powdered like icing sugars.

1 pint water
1/2 pound butter
4 pounds castor sugar
1-1/2 cups sweetened condensed milk
Flavoring of choice (e.g., vanilla, almond, etc.)

Warm the water in saucepan, melt in the butter, add the sugar, and bring to a boil while stirring. Stir in the milk and simmer for about 20 minutes while constantly stirring to avoid burning. Remove from heat, add flavoring of choice, and beat hard for 5 minutes.

Pour tablet into greased tin and when partly cooled, cut into 5 x 1-inch bars. Wrap cold bars in waxed paper and store in airtight container.

Cranachan / Cream Crowdie Dessert

1/2 cup coarse oatmeal or rolled oats
2 cups fresh raspberries
1-3/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons liquid honey
2 tablespoons Scotch whisky

Spread oatmeal on a baking sheet and grill in oven for about 2 minutes (or slowly toast on cast iron pan) until it smells warm and pleasantly nutty.

Crush 1 cup raspberries with a fork. Whip the cream until thick, then stir in honey and whisky. Add the crushed raspberries, stirring gently, then the remaining whole raspberries.

Finally, gently fold in the toasted oatmeal, spoon into serving glasses, and serve at once. This traditional Scottish dessert recipe makes enough for 4 tasty servings.

Traditional Scottish Dessert Recipes

The Bread and Biscuit Baker's and Sugar-Boiler's Assistant (1890)
Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping (1877)
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1916)
With a Saucepan Over the Sea (1902)
365 Foreign Dishes (1908)
Allied Cookery (1916)

Traditional Scottish Shortbread RoundTraditional Scottish Shortbread Round
(Source: ©steve-mann/

Old Fashioned Shortbread Rounds

Take 1 pound of butter, 2 pounds of flour, 8 ounces of powdered sugar. Mix the sugar in the butter, then take in all the flour and thoroughly mix and rub all together till of a nice mellow color and easy to work.

Weigh off the size required, and shape into square or round pieces; dock them on the top, notch them round the sides, put on clean dry tins, and bake in a moderate oven (350°F). —The Bread and Biscuit Baker's and Sugar-Boiler's Assistant

Scottish Fruitcake

A cup butter, two of white sugar, four of sifted flour, three-fourths cup sour milk, half teaspoon soda, nine eggs beaten separately, one pound raisins, half pound currants, a fourth pound citron.

Cream the butter and sugar, add milk gradually then beaten yolks of eggs, and lastly, while stirring in flour, the whites well whipped. Flavor with one teaspoon lemon and one of vanilla extract, and have raisins chopped a little, or, better still, seeded, and citron sliced thin. Wash and dry currants before using, and flour all fruit slightly.

In putting cake in pan, place first a thin layer of cake, then sprinkle in some of the three kinds of fruit, then a layer of cake and so on, always finishing off with a thin layer of cake. Bake in a moderate (375°F) oven for two hours. —Mrs. J. H. Shearer, Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping

Fannie Farmer's Scottish Fancies

One egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 2/3 tablespoon melted butter, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/3 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.

Beat egg until light, add gradually sugar, and then stir in remaining ingredients. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls on a thoroughly greased inverted dripping-pan one inch apart. Spread into circular shape with a case knife first dipped in cold water. Bake in a moderate oven (375°F) until delicately browned.

To give variety use two-thirds cup rolled oats and fill cup with shredded coconut. —The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book

Scottish Orange Marmalade

Weigh the oranges and set aside an equal weight of sugar. Put the fruit, whole, into cold water to cover, bring to a boil, pour off the water and add as much more, and simmer until the fruit can be easily pierced with a fork.

Cut the fruit in thin slices, throw away all of the seeds, return to the water, add the sugar, and cook until it jellies, about an your or less. Put into jars for use.

They can be cooked with the same amount of sugar, cutting the skin first into strips, discarding the pith and membrane and seeds, and adding the pulp to the water and sugar. —Traditional Scottish Dessert Recipe from With a Saucepan Over the Sea

Scottish Loaf Cake

Mix 1/2 pound of butter with 1/4 pound of sugar, 1/2 cup of chopped nuts and 1/2 cup of shredded citron; then work in 1 pound of sifted flour with 2 teaspoonfuls of baking powder. Make a loaf a half-inch thick and bake in moderate oven (375°F) until done. —365 Foreign Recipes

Gordon Highlander Gingerbread

Put in a mixing bowl 1/2 a pound of flour, 2 ounces of brown sugar, 2 ounces peel, 3/4 of an egg or 1 small egg, well beaten, 1/2 teaspoonful of soda mixed with 1/4 of a cup of milk, 1/4 ounce each of ginger, mace, and cinnamon, then beat into this slowly 3 ounces of butter that has been warmed in 1/2 pint of molasses. Bake very slowly in a tin lined with buttered paper. —Traditional Scottish dessert recipe from Allied Cookery

Enjoying Traditional Scottish Foods

Don Bell at the Holiday Inn Edinburgh, ScotlandDon Bell at the Holiday Inn® Edinburgh in Scotland
(Source: ©Don Bell)

Edinburgh Cuisine

A while back, I attended a Solo Build It (SBI!) Webmasters Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland with my wife Vicki. We met website owners from the UK and other countries, and I received many helpful ideas on how to improve this recipe site.

However, allow me tell you about the wonderful Scottish food...

Our noon meals at the Holiday Inn® Edinburgh featured an all-you-can-eat Asian buffet that was simply to die for. Not traditionally Scottish but absolutely delicious and reflective of Scotland's trendy taste.

I determined to not overeat yet found myself sneaking back for seconds. The Scottish roast beef entree was too delicious to resist! And after all, this was a working holiday.

Don Bell with Tempting Scottish Shortbread SnacksDon Being Tempted by Shortbread Cookies
(Source: ©Don Bell)

At coffee breaks, there were endless packages of Walkers® Pure Butter Shortbread cookies, and the ginger biscuits were equally delicious. Scottish shortbread treats are impossible to resist!

To make your own shortbread, see the traditional Scottish dessert recipe for shortbread on this page, and the easy-to-make recipes for shortbread featured elsewhere on this site.

One evening, we attended a Scottish Ceilidh (pronounced KAY-lee) at Edinburgh's popular Ghillie Dhu where we enjoyed dining on a traditional haggis with bashed neeps and tatties, chicken breast stuffed with black pudding.

The meal was followed by a traditional Cranachan or Cream Crowdie that was served with a rich buttery Shortbread Biscuit. Be sure to try it using the recipes on this page!

Touring Edinburgh

Don and Vicki Bell Dining Aboard the Royal Yacht BritanniaDon and Vicki Enjoying Lunch Aboard HM Yacht Britannia
(Source: ©Don Bell)

While in Edinburgh, do take time to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia. The 412-foot ship once served as a floating palace for HM Queen Elizabeth II on her overseas tours.

Exploring Britannia is a fascinating way to spend a morning and while aboard her, you can enjoy a wonderful lunch in the Royal Deck Tea Room.

Smoked Salmon Sandwiches Served with a Green SaladSmoked Salmon Sandwiches
(Source: ©Don Bell)
Homemade Apple Pie with Ice CreamApple Pie with Ice Cream
(Source: ©Don Bell)

For instance, a satisfying sandwich of Shetland oak-smoked salmon and cracked black pepper cream cheese on wholemeal bread, followed by a slice of homemade apple pie topped with Porelli vanilla ice cream hit the spot after a morning's site seeing.

The Entrance of Holyrood Palace, EdinburghVisiting Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh
(Source: ©Don Bell)

We also visited Holyrood Palace where I got to try some Scottish Fruit Scones smothered with dairy butter and blackberry jam, with a generous dollop of clotted cream on the side. The scones were large and bursting with fruit and so good tasting! Almost as good as Grannie's.

Don Bell Enjoying a Scottish Fruit SconeEnjoying a Fruit Scone at the Palace of Holyroodhouse Cafe
(Source ©Don Bell)

Here's a closer look...

Scottish Fruit Scone on a PlateFruit Scone Served at the Palace of Holyroodhouse Cafe
(Source ©Don Bell)

Doesn't that scone look delicious and inviting? Ready to be split open and buttered? Only the best scones are served at a Scottish royal palace!

Now, you can enjoy a similar "wee taste of Old Scotland" thanks to the traditional Scottish scone recipes from Grandma's collection.

After a day filled with walking and sightseeing, we always eagerly awaited our main evening meal, and Edinburgh offers a wonderland of dining experiences.

For instance, we enjoyed a lovely pub dinner of wild venison pie with mushrooms at The Conan Doyle pub. It was so sumptuous that we had no room for a dessert!

However, the following night, we experienced fine dining with braised lamb shanks followed by — you guessed it — a homemade sticky toffee pudding smothered in custard sauce and real whipped cream. Delicious to be sure!

The ClamShell, Edinburgh, ScotlandThe ClamShell, the Royal Mile, Edinburgh
(Source: ©Don Bell)

Finally, we couldn't leave Edinburgh, Scotland without tasting a battered Deep Fried Mars Bar at the ClamShell, a popular fish & chip takeaway on the Royal Mile.

Tons of calories, but so yummy! It was so filling that we skipped our evening meal and had only coffee before returning to our B&B for a night's sleep.

And before you criticize my lack of restraint, I've included an easy Deep Fried Mars Bars recipe to tempt you. Why not admit it? You're curious to try it!

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