Home > Christmas > Sweet Pastry and Afternoon Tea > Black Bun

Black Bun

Famous throughout Scotland since the 18th century, Black Bun was often made at Christmas, when it was sometimes called Yule Cake. The filling is much like a Christmas cake, but the delicate envelope of pastry gives it a special character it requires neither eggs nor sugar.

Image of Black Bun


500 g (1 lb) plain flour
teaspoon salt
250 g (8 oz) butter
1-2 tablespoons iced water


375 g (12 oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon black pepper
teaspoon grated nutmeg
500 g (1 lb) seedless raisins
500 g (1 lb) currants
50 g (2 oz) chopped mixed peel (optional)
50 g (2 oz) glace cherries, chopped
125 g (4 oz) blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons whisky
Milk, for mixing
2 egg yolks, beaten


Serves: 12


1. Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Grease either a 25 x 12 cm (10 x 5 inch) bread tin or a loose-bottomed 20 cm (8 inch) cake tin.

2. Mix the flour and salt together and rub in the butter until you have a crumb like consistency. Mix in 1 tablespoon of iced water. If the dough is still crumbly, add another tablespoon of iced water, and stir and mix until it will come away from the bowl in one piece, leaving the bowl clean.

3. Flour a board and roll the dough out to a little less than 5 mm (¼ inch) thickness. Line the bread or cake tin, moulding the dough against the sides and making sure there are no holes. Set aside a piece for the lid.

4. Mix all the dry ingredients for the filling together and then add all the fruit and the almonds. Stir well together. Stir in the whisky then add enough milk to bring it to a stiff consistency.

5. Fill the tin and smooth off flat at the top. Roll out the dough lid and lay it on loosely so that the inside can rise a little. Thrust a long skewer through the lid and filling, right to the bottom, in about eight places. Lightly prick the lid all over with a fork. Brush over with the beaten egg yolks.

6. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 2 ½ hours. Allow the bun to stand in the tin on a wire rack for 30 minutes before turning out.

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus cooling
Cooking time: 2 hours

Related food category: