Tantallon Cakes (Scottish Shortbread Biscuits)

These delicious „cakes“ are not actually cakes, but shortbread biscuits named after the semi-ruined castle of Tantallon in East-Lothian, Scotland. They are a variation to traditional Scottish shortbread with a nice lemony twist and just an ideal tea companion. Dust with a bit of icing sugar before serving if you like and dunk it!


Ingredients (for approximately 20-25 biscuits):

  • 100 grams of butter (room temperature)
  • 100 grams of icing sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 100 grams of cake flour (German type 405)
  • 100 grams of cornflour
  • 1/4 of a teaspoon of baking soda
  • For decoration: 1 tablespoon of icing sugar


  1. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until very fluffy and white.
  2. Stir in the icing sugar with a soft baking spoon. Beat vigorously until you obtain a creamy mix.
  3. Beat in the egg yolk and the lemon zest.
  4. Pass the flour and cornflour through a fine mesh. Mix with the baking soda. Stir into the butter and sugar mix in small batches.
  5. When well mixed, knead until you have a smooth dough. Check by pressing down the dough with the palm of your hand whether it is homogenous.
  6. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Roll out the dough ca. 0.5 cm thick. Use a round crinkle edge cutter to cut out the biscuits (the shape of the pastry cutter I used is actually not quite right but it is somewhat close enough). Place them on the baking trays.
  7. Prick each biscuit with a fork three times to form a pattern. Chill for at least 30 minutes before baking to avoid that the biscuits spread wide during baking.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (top and bottom heat). Bake one tray after the other for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until the biscuits just start to colour.
  9. Let cool off completely.
  10. If you like, dust with a bit of icing sugar before serving. Preserve in an airtight container.

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