Indulge in the Heavenly Taste of Tantallon Cakes

Picture yourself sitting in the rugged plains of Scotland and feeling the refreshing breeze sweeping your face while relishing every bite of a scrumptious Scottish delight. If you want to experience a true taste of Scotland, then Tantallon cakes will surely make you smile.

Originally from 1929 Scottish Tantallon, these cakes are named after the ruined castle of Tantallon North Berwick East Lothian, where they were first introduced. These zesty Scottish shortbread biscuits with a lemon twist are known to cast a spell over everyone who indulges in them.

As a Chef specializing in British cuisine, I have spent countless hours perfecting this tantalizing recipe. Now that I’m finally able to present it, I’m sure you’ll love it.

This recipe is easy to make, and you can enjoy tasty cakes within an hour. A unique combination of rice flour, caster sugar, bicarbonate soda, cornflour, and butter join forces with eggs, lemon rind, and flour 4 ounces to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. So let’s get baking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Tantallon Cakes (Scottish)
Tantallon Cakes (Scottish)

Listen up, fellow food enthusiasts! Are you on the hunt for an indulgent, zesty treat that’ll transport you straight to the heart of Scotland? Look no further than Tantallon Cakes. This traditional Scottish recipe has been passed down through generations and is sure to impress even the most discerning palate.

Picture this – a golden-brown shortbread base infused with a lemon twist named after the infamous Tantallon castle in East Lothian, Scotland. The delicate, buttery texture of these cakes is offset by the sharpness of the lemon rind, a combination that melts in your mouth, leaving behind a sweet sensation that makes you want to go back for more.

But why do these cakes stand out from other Scottish delicacies? For starters, they are easy to make and require just a handful of ingredients found in most kitchens. With its rich history dating back to at least 1929, Tantallon Cakes have been enjoyed by people for decades and continue to impress new generations with their unique flavor.

Whether you’re hosting an afternoon tea party, treating yourself to a mid-day snack or looking for a dessert option that’s not too heavy on calories and nutrition, Tantallon Cakes have you covered. Trust us when we say that these cakes are not just delicious but also versatile when it comes to pairing options.

So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try and join us in experiencing the magic that is Tantallon Cakes- your taste buds will thank you!

Ingredient List

 A cup of tradition: Tantallon Cakes, a Scottish delicacy
A cup of tradition: Tantallon Cakes, a Scottish delicacy

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s have a look at what you’ll need to make these delicious Tantallon Cakes that hail from the enchanting country of Scotland.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 4 ounces flour
  • 4 ounces rice flour
  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 2 ounces caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoonful cornflour
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs, beaten

You’ll notice that some of the ingredients like bicarbonate of soda and rice flour might not be your typical baking cupboard staples. But fear not! Many well-stocked grocery stores carry these specialty items, or you could even order them online if you can plan ahead. Now that you have all the ingredients gathered up, let’s proceed to making these scrumptious cakes!

The Recipe How-To

 A secret recipe that has been passed down for generations
A secret recipe that has been passed down for generations

Step One: Gather Your Ingredients

Before we start baking, make sure you have gathered all the ingredients in one place. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, before you start mixing. Here are the Ingredients-

  • 4 ounces of flour
  • 4 ounces of rice flour
  • 4 ounces of butter softened
  • 2 ounces of caster sugar
  • One heaped tablespoonful of cornflour
  • Pinch of bicarbonate soda
  • Lemon rind from 1 lemon
  • Icing Sugar, for sprinkling

Step Two: Mix Dry Ingredients

Now that we have our ingredients, let’s get mixing. In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, rice flour, caster sugar, cornflour and the bicarbonate soda. Combine all these ingredients together for a smooth texture. Make sure there are no lumps.

Step Three: Add Butter & Lemon Rind

Add softened butter and grated lemon rind to the bowl containing dry ingredients. Use your hands or a mixer to mix these ingredients together until you achieve a crumbly mixture.

Step Four: Create Dough & Bake

Line a baking tray with parchment paper or greased with a little extra butter. Roll out the dough till it’s about half an inch thick and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes of your choice. Place them on the baking tray and bake for around 15 -20 minutes or until golden brown.

Step Five: Sprinkle Icing Sugar

Once your cakes are ready and cooled off entirely, sprinkle some icing sugar lightly over each cake before serving.


Substitutions and Variations

 The perfect treat to accompany a warm cup of tea or coffee
The perfect treat to accompany a warm cup of tea or coffee

As versatile as it is delicious, the Tantallon Cakes recipe leaves plenty of room for substitutions and variations to suit your preferences or dietary needs. Here are some ideas to try:

– Vegan Tantallon Cakes: substitute the butter and eggs with vegan alternatives such as vegetable oil and flax eggs.

– Lemon-free version: omit the lemon rind if you prefer a milder flavor or can’t find fresh lemons at your local store. Alternatively, you could use orange zest or other citrus fruits for a different twist.

– Gluten-free option: swap the regular flour with gluten-free flour blends such as rice flour, almond flour, or oat flour. Note that the texture may vary slightly from the traditional recipe, but they will still be scrumptious.

– Health-conscious substitutes: try substituting some of the caster sugar with coconut sugar or maple syrup for natural sweetness. Additionally, you can swap half of the regular flour with cornflour to make them lighter.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are endless ways to personalize your Tantallon Cakes recipe based on ingredients available to you. Feel free to experiment with different toppings like icing sugar, fruit jams, or chocolate drizzle, or add a pinch of your favorite baking spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. You can also turn this recipe into cupcakes instead of round cakes or even transform it into a shortbread recipe by adapting the baking time and techniques.

Nothing beats a classic Scottish recipe like Tantallon Cakes, but don’t be afraid to switch things up and make it your own with these creative substitutions and variations.

Serving and Pairing

 These cakes are loaded with juicy raisins and crunchy almonds
These cakes are loaded with juicy raisins and crunchy almonds

Once those tantalizing Tantallon Cakes are out of the oven and have cooled for a bit, it’s time to enjoy them! These cakes are perfect with a strong cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, but can also be served with a dollop of whipped cream on top for an extra treat.

If you’re hosting a party or want to impress your guests with something uniquely Scottish, these cakes are a must-have. They’re perfect for any occasion, from birthday parties to afternoon tea with friends. You can also serve them as a sweet dessert after dinner.

For something fun and unique, try pairing these Tantallon Cakes with a Scottish whisky like Glenfiddich or Talisker. The rich, buttery and zesty flavors of the cakes pair perfectly with the smoky and complex flavors of these whiskies.

If you’re looking for something non-alcoholic, try pairing the cakes with a hot cup of Scottish breakfast tea or an iced fruit tea. If you want to go all out, make some homemade Scottish shortbread biscuits to serve alongside the Tantallon Cakes!

No matter how you choose to serve them, these delicious Tantallon Cakes are sure to impress and satisfy anyone who loves traditional Scottish desserts.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A sprinkle of cinnamon goes a long way in adding extra flavor
A sprinkle of cinnamon goes a long way in adding extra flavor

Are you planning to prepare Tantallon Cakes ahead of time for a special occasion or family gathering? These zesty Scottish shortbread biscuits are perfect for make-ahead preparations. Simply bake them in advance and store them in an airtight container lined with parchment paper. The cake can last up to several days when stored correctly.

Storing these cakes is a breeze, but reheating them can sometimes prove challenging. To keep the texture fresh and moist, I recommend reheating the cakes at a low temperature in an oven (about 300°F) or toaster oven for best results. This will bring back that just-baked texture while also preserving the delicious flavors and aromas.

If you’re looking to serve guests with dietary restrictions, you’re in luck. These cakes can be made vegan with some ingredient substitutions such as vegan butter and egg substitutes like applesauce or flax eggs.

Whether you want to serve them freshly baked or make-ahead, Tantallon Cakes are perfect for any occasion. They can be paired with a cup of tea or even incorporated into other traditional Scottish desserts such as oatcakes or orange cake. So get ready to impress your guests with this delightful treat from East Lothian’s infamous Tantallon Castle!

Tips for Perfect Results

 An easy-to-make dessert that looks impressive and tastes amazing
An easy-to-make dessert that looks impressive and tastes amazing

In order to perfect your Tantallon Cakes recipe, there are some tips and tricks that I have learned from years of experience. These little adjustments and additions can elevate your cakes to the next level and make them truly irresistible delights.

First and foremost, make sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you begin. Cold butter or eggs can ruin the consistency of your cakes, causing them to be too dense or flat. Taking this step will ensure that all ingredients will bond together flawlessly.

Another tip for ensuring the perfect consistency of your Tantallon Cakes is to cream your butter and sugar together until they’re light and fluffy. This process incorporates air into the mixture, allowing your cakes to rise as they bake. When creaming, make sure you scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl frequently so all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.

Don’t forget the importance of sifting! Sifting both the flour and the bicarbonate of soda will remove any lumps and soften any hard pieces, making it easier to create a smooth batter which will result in a soft cake.

To add a little extra zing to your Tantallon Cakes, consider adding finely grated lemon rind to your mixture before baking. It will add a burst of flavour to each bite while also bringing an aromatic lemony scent to your kitchen.

Lastly, when baking your Tantallon Cakes, give yourself enough time so you don’t have an uneven bottom (the most common problem when baking classic Scottish cakes). Place them in the middle rack of the oven for even heat distribution for 20-25 minutes (or until golden brown). Remember every oven is different so make sure you keep up with it on the smell and colour aspect.

With these tips and tricks in mind, you will be able to achieve perfect results with every batch of Tantallon Cakes. Trust me, these delicious treats will become a go-to dessert in your baking repertoire in no time.

Bottom Line


As a chef specializing in British cuisine, I highly recommend that you try making Tantallon Cakes. This Scottish recipe has been enjoyed since 1929 and has stood the test of time because of its delicious taste and simplicity. The combination of shortbread biscuits, lemon twist, and zesty flavor make these cakes a perfect treat for any occasion.

If you are looking to impress guests or simply want to indulge in some traditional Scottish food, then Tantallon Cakes should be on your list. With simple ingredients such as flour, caster sugar, and butter, you can easily create this recipe and enjoy the sweet aroma that fills your kitchen.

Moreover, Tantallon Cakes can be customized according to your preference. You can add a vegan touch by substituting eggs with flax seeds or include some rice flour for an extra crunchy texture. You can also experiment with different icing sugar combinations to enhance the cake’s sweetness level.

In essence, Tantallon Cakes are easy to store, reheat, and serve for later consumption. You can also pair them with a cup of tea or incorporate them into some Scottish desserts like oatcakes or even an orange cake.

In conclusion, Tantallon Cakes are a timeless recipe that deserves to be celebrated and enjoyed. So go ahead, grab your baking essentials and get started on this delicious journey as soon as possible!

Tantallon Cakes (Scottish)

Tantallon Cakes (Scottish) Recipe

Found online from the booklet Scottish Teatime Recipes; posting for ZWT6 (Great Britian/Scotland).
Course Dessert
Cuisine Scottish
Keyword < 60 Mins, Brunch, Dessert, European, Scottish, Weeknight
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Calories 554.5kcal


  • 4 ounces flour
  • 4 ounces cornflour or 4 ounces rice flour
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 4 ounces caster sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon level grated lemon rind
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • icing sugar, for dusting


  • Set oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Grease a baking sheet.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl.
  • Add the sifted flours, bicarbonate of soda, lemon rind and the beaten eggs in small amounts, ensuring that the mixture is well combined each time Turn out the dough on to a floured surface, knead gently and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness.
  • Cut into rounds with a 2 1/2 inch pastry cutter.
  • Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden in color.
  • Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar.


Serving: 168g | Calories: 554.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 8.3g | Fat: 26.8g | Saturated Fat: 15.5g | Cholesterol: 154mg | Sodium: 279.6mg | Fiber: 2.9g | Sugar: 28.7g

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