Return to homepage Skip to navigation Skip to site search Skip to main content Skip to footer


Dundee Cake marketing challenge for Abertay students

1 December 2015

How do you promote an iconic Scottish product internationally? Abertay University students have been set the challenge to market Dundee Cake globally by Goodfellow & Steven.

The project, which culminates in business-style pitches of marketing plans to experts from Goodfellow & Steven and Dundee City Council, is part of regular marketing activities at Abertay that bring in external companies to set real problems for students.

Dr Jason Turner leads these projects and worked with Goodfellow & Steven to develop the student brief, which asked them to create a retail strategy which considers potential routes to market and potential spin-off products.

This is an internationally important moment in the history of Dundee Cake, with the famous foodstuff under consideration for a prestigious Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) under the EU Protected Food Names scheme.

Dundee Cake DBS event - web 1

Dr Turner of Abertay University’s Dundee Business School said: “We have incredibly talented, hard-working students at Abertay and we’re always looking for opportunities to let them apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world problems.

“It’s absolutely crucial to their careers to understand how businesses work and the actual challenges they’re facing.

“Working with Goodfellow & Steven to develop marketing plans for Dundee Cake has been a very exciting project and we’ve seen exceptional levels of creativity and commercial ideas.”

Dundee Cake DBS event - web 2

The students will pitch their ideas to Martin Goodfellow and Don Henderson from Goodfellow & Steven, as well as representatives of Dundee City Council.

Martin Goodfellow said: “Abertay University has an excellent Business School so it was a natural choice for us to try and use some home grown talent to do some targeted market research for us.

“The world is a big place and knowing the best routes into market in advance are very important to ensure we use our resources wisely as we proceed.“

If successful, the PGI award would tightly control what can be sold as ‘Dundee Cake’. Dundee Cake is famously decorated with whole, blanched almonds and is a rich, moist, all-butter ‘afternoon tea’ fruit cake.

The definitive Dundee Cake recipe that was submitted for EU approval was developed in partnership with another part of Abertay University, Food Innovation @ Abertay.

The university’s food development consultancy started with a matrix of 30 recipes – which spanned from the 1800s to the present day – to determine the common ingredients down the decades and create a historically accurate base recipe.

This included recipes from prominent Dundee bakers’ archives, in particular the famous Keiller family.

To reflect the changes in ingredients that have taken place over the years – due to wartime shortages, public taste and bakers’ personal preferences – the tolerances of ingredients within the base recipe were then modified to create three different forms of the cake for the public to try.

The team then conducted taste trials with over 400 Dundonians in City Square so that their preferences could be used to decide which recipe would go forward in the application.


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:


The application for PGI status can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Selected information from the application:

Dundee Cake is the name given to a rich, moist, all-butter "afternoon tea" fruit cake which must be prepared, decorated and baked in the described geographical area.

Dundee cake is studded with juicy sultanas and flavoured with Seville orange, it is a deep cake which is traditionally round in shape but can be made in other shapes to accommodate customer requirements. Regardless of its shape, Dundee Cake is always decorated with blanched whole almonds which give Dundee cake its iconic appearance. The cake should smell sweet and buttery and have an aroma of bitter orange. It may also contain ground almonds for extra richness and moistness and can be flavoured with sherry. .

The following ingredients only may be used in the production of a traditional Dundee cake:

• Salted Butter
• Sugar - caster, granulated, light or dark soft brown
• Free range eggs
• Thick peel Seville oranges (concentrated or other - minimum 5%)
• Finely grated orange zest (minimum 1%)
• Plain cake Flour
• Sultanas (minimum 27%)
• Whole Blanched almonds (minimum 3%)
• Sherry (optional)
• Ground almonds (optional)
• Split almonds (optional alternative for non-circular cakes)
• Citric Acid (preservative)

Back to News