It’s only a Dundee Cake if it’s made in the City of Discovery


DUNDEE Cake  is set to get legal protection from bakers outside the city who copy the legendary delicacy, the Scottish Government announced yesterday.


The move means only Dundee Cake made in the City of Discovery can go by the famous name.


If approved by the UK government and European Union, the famous fruit cake will join other protected Scottish products such as Stornoway Black Pudding and Arbroath Smokies.


The cake  is set to get special status because bakers the length and breadth of the UK make a similar product and slap the name “Dundee Cake” on it.


A Dundee Cake, controversially turned into a birthday cake with a splash of icing (Photo: Eljay)
A Dundee Cake, controversially turned into a birthday cake with a splash of icing (Photo: Eljay)


Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead yesterday (fri) confirmed that the Scottish Government had launched a bid under the EU Protected Food Name scheme.


No-one outside the city would be able to produce their own version of the cake – which typically costs around £1 – and call it “Dundee Cake.”


A group of Dundee bakers will meet this week to start work on agreeing a set recipe for the city’s famous cake.


The fruit cake, which is famous for its rich texture, traditionally contains candied fruit peel and almonds, along with currants and sultanas.


Mr Lochhead made the announcement at the flower and food festival at Camperdown Park in Dundee.


He said: “Dundee is famous as a city of discoveries and we want the world to discover delicious, authentic Dundee Cake.


“We can trace its origins back hundreds of years to the kitchens of the marmalade inventor Janet Keiller, making it a thoroughly Dundonian delicacy which deserves European recognition for its unique characteristics and long association with this city.


“Scotland is world-famous for our wonderful food and drink, and people want to know they are buying the real deal. Achieving PGI status for Dundee Cake will ensure that consumers at home and abroad have a one hundred per cent guarantee of the product’s authenticity.”


Local baker Jonathan Clark, whose father Alan, has been campaigning for Dundee Cake to gain protective status said that he was “delighted”.


“My dad has been working with the council to make this happen. We have been really pushing it for the past two years or so, so we are really delighted that it might now finally happen.


“My dad tried to get protected status for the cake about 15 years ago, but he gave up when nothing happened. Now he is close to retiring he has been giving it a real push.


“It would be great for the business. We would be ably to employ more people and mass produce Dundee cake. Hopefully we could sell it on a global market.


“We aren’t allowed to make Cornwall Pasties or Forfar Bridies, so why should they be allowed to make Dundee Cake. It should be made in Dundee.”


Dundee baker Martin Goodfellow, of Goodfellow and Steven, said: “Although the Dundee Cake is a product that is known all over the world, it does not currently enjoy geographical protection and is produced in a number of locations to various quality levels. It is a significant part of our heritage and it is important that the cake is rightfully associated with the city in which it originated and its quality levels maintained.”


The cake was first made by Dundee based marmalade producer Janet Keiller in the 1700s, who used the extra citrus peel from the marmalade making process to make the cake.


However, a popular tale could date the cake back to Mary Queen of Scots. It is claimed that the cake was first made for her, as she did not like cherries in her fruit cake, so they were replaced with almonds.


The cake is typically decorated with concentric circles of almonds.


Earlier this year, Stornoway black pudding became the latest Scottish delicacy to be granted  protected status.


The award came after a seven year campaign spearheaded by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant.


It means that only black pudding produced in the town or parish of Stornoway on Lewis, can be labelled as Stornoway Black Pudding.


In 2004, the European Commission registered “Arbroath Smokies” as a Protected Geographical Indication under the EU’s Protected Food Name Scheme.