Cranachan Cake //

January 25th marks Burns Night here in Scotland, which celebrates the birth of Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet who wrote Auld Lang Syne. For a larger summary of his published works, check Wikipedia! Haha. In Scotland, the day is celebrated with haggis, neeps & tatties, plenty of whisky, some bagpipes and the traditional Scottish dessert, cranachan. 

Cranachan is cream whipped into soft peaks, mixed with whisky, and layered with raspberries and toasted oats. It’s really delicious, but since I can’t eat cream any more, I needed to think of a new way to make it! And given my newfound obsession with whisky caramel one of my colleagues suggested a cranachan cake may be the way to go. And he wasn’t wrong. Layers of homemade raspberry compote (or raspberry jam if you’re pressed for time) whisky caramel sandwiched between a light vanilla sponge, topped with vanilla buttercream, more whisky caramel and more raspberries?! I hope you’re not filling up on haggis, cus you’re going to need some room.


4 eggs

400g soft brown sugar

350 self raising flour

1 pinch of salt

Few drops vanilla

125ml milk

225ml vegetable oil

. Pre-heat your oven to 160c and line and grease three 20cm wide cake tins. Beat sugar, eggs and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Beating slowly, add the milk and oil, then fold through the flour and salt. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins.

. Whilst the cakes are cooling, you can make the caramel and buttercream, and compote if you’re making it, but jam does work just as well. I would make the caramel & compote first, as they need to cool before you can use them.


250g raspberries

200g sugar

100ml water

. Combine all ingredients and heat together in a pan until the fruit is completely reduced and the mixture is thick, it should take roughly 20 minutes. Set aside.

Whisky Caramel Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter

300ml double cream

Pinch of sea salt

250g caster sugar

30ml whisky (whatever you’re preferred brand, I used Bells)

. Heat the cream, butter and salt together, until the butter has melted, and set aside. In a thick bottomed pan (with fairly high sides) put the sugar and a small amount of water, just enough to wet the sugar. Heat together over a low heat until the sugar is all melted together and starts to caramelise (it will go a nice amber colour, swirl it carefully around in the pan to achieve an even colouring). Slowly (and carefully!) add the cream mixture. It will bubble up, so don’t throw it all in at once, add it gently and give it a little stir. Once all is added, stir through the whisky, and set aside to cool completely.


1kg icing sugar

400g unsalted butter, softened

Few drops vanilla extract

Approx. 100ml of milk

. Beat together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla, until all combined and fluffy. Slowly add the milk, a few drops at a time, until you reach the desired softness for your buttercream. You may not need all the milk.

To assemble:

. Skim any domed tops off your cakes with a cake harp or long sharp knife. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of your cake – this will act as a barrier, so your fillings don’t escape! Fill the centre with a layer of compote, then a layer of caramel, then top with the next cake. Repeat until all cakes are stacked, then chill.

. Once your cake is firm, and the layers have set, you can do your crumb coat. I usually pile my icing onto the top of my cake, and using an offset spatula, push icing down over the edges and cover all the cake. If you want to do a super professional job, chill again before applying a top, neat layer of buttercream. If you’re lazy, or rushing (like me) spreading the buttercream on fairly thickly the first time and neatening it up will do fine. Don’t worry about the top being tidy – this is going to be invisible in a moment.

. Get your chilled caramel and put it in a piping bag. and slowly squeeze it over the edges of your cold cake. Here’s a good tutorial if you’d like to watch one. It’s essential your cake is cold, so the drips don’t go too wild! You can also put the caramel from the centre and with an offset spatula, gently push it over the edges. Pop back in the fridge to let the caramel set.

. Once cake is cooled, pipe on some little rosettes, and top with fresh raspberries and toasted oats. Enjoy!

This recipe yields one giant cake. Halve the recipe to make some cute cupcakes. Remove the whisky if you’re off the sauce, it’ll still be delicious!

Have you ever been to a Burns Night dinner? Have you ever eaten haggis?! I’ll be raising a glass of whisky to Rabbie Burns tomorrow – with a slice of cake! No haggis for me though, I’m a vegetarian!

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