Farmersgirl Kitchen

Black Bun – Traditional Scottish New Year Bake

Cake, Scottish | December 28, 2015 | By

The last time I made Black Bun was in 1999, to be served for the Millennium Celebrations on Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) to celebrate the entry of the new millennium.  Usually we are still eating Christmas cake in February so another dried fruit ‘cake’ is the last thing I would make.  However,  this year we have visitors for New Year, so I thought it was time to make this most traditional of Scottish New Year offerings. 

Traditional Black Bun for New Year

Hogmanay is the Scottish name for New Year’s Eve. When I was growing up, no self-respecting home  would be without slices of Black Bun and shortbread fingers to offer ‘First Footers’ along with a dram of whisky or a schooner of sherry.  A First Footer is the first person to step over the threshold on New Year’s Day usually just after midnight, even better if the first footer was tall, dark and handsome as that was deemed to bring good luck! 

Black Bun is really quite simple to make, although it does contain quite a list of ingredients, including ginger, all spice, cinnamon and black pepper,  and needs long slow baking.  It will be better after several weeks maturing, but is ready to eat as soon as it has cooled.  I found the recipe for Black Bun at Rampant Scotland and as we have now sampled the Black Bun, I am happy to recommend it. 

uncooked black bun fruit cakeThis Black Bun was baked in a loaf tin, but you can make it in a cake tin, usually square or rectangular but a round one would do if you don’t have anything else.  

Scottish Black Bun Fruit Cake

Keeping the oven temperature low, 325F/160C is vital to ensure that the pastry doesn’t burn while the cake inside bakes.  I also covered the top with some foil towards the end of the baking. 

What are your Hogmanay/New Year’s Eve Traditions?

  1. Karen
    December 29, 2015

    I LOVE Black Bun and my Scottish granny used to make it every year, sadly I’ve not had the time to make it lately, but I will have a virtual slice of yours Janice! Happy New Year and hope to see you in 2016! Karen
    Karen recently posted…North Country Creamed Turkey & Celery HashMy Profile

    • Janice Pattie
      December 29, 2015

      Thanks Karen, now that I am a Scottish Granny, I have to keep up those traditions! Would love to see you in 2016, elderly mothers’ (both of them) health permitting.

  2. Katie
    December 29, 2015

    I’ve never tried Black Bun but it looks and sounds incredible!!!! NYE for us generally involves cocktails, silly games and fireworks – either at our house or someone else’s. I used to go out on NYE but it’s so crowded and expensive that we don’t bother any more. House parties are way more fun 🙂
    Katie recently posted…Three easy canapé recipes for partiesMy Profile

    • Janice Pattie
      December 29, 2015

      Sounds fun, enjoy your celebrations.

    • Janice Pattie
      December 29, 2015

      Thanks, all the best to you and your family for the New Year

    • Janice Pattie
      December 30, 2015

      it seems to have fallen out of favour recently, but we are enjoying it. well wort making, maybe for Burns night?

    • Janice Pattie
      December 6, 2016

      Thanks for featuring it in your advent calendar, Choclette. Not many people make Black Bun now, I love it.