Since it’s St Andrew’s day this month, I am including some recipes discovered in Scotland when I was there with a designer friend this summer. Part of our trip was to include a week at an art school in Ullapool. I had had Eleanor White, of Bridge House Art School, recommended by many different people, so we were both looking forward to the course very much – as we approached I hoped it wasn’t going to disappoint my professional companion.

I needn’t have worried. We were certainly challenged; we painted and drew a whole range of difficult subjects (I had no idea just how many strange angles a wheelbarrow has), in difficult conditions (torrential rain), inspired by poems, words, narratives and much else.

A particularly inspiring source of inspiration, however, came in the form of a mid-morning cake, generously provided by Claire Walker who gave me the recipe of her lemon cake, while Cindy Forbes gave me her recipe for Aberdeen biscuits.

There was also this cake, which I have recreated and altered slightly, by soaking the raisins in whisky – a rather appropriate addition I think!


Featured photograph at the top © Jacqui Sinnatt at The Brand Scout. By kind permission.

Ullapool art cake

try not to get the paint on to it

Recipe for Ullapool art cake


  • 175g/1 cup raisins
  • 50g/about ⅓ cup chopped glacé cherries
  • large mug of Earl Grey tea
  • 8ml/ ⅓ cup whisky 
  • 40g/4  knobs butter, plus a bit more to grease the loaf tin
  • 210g/1½cups/7½ oz plain flour
  • 2 teasp baking powder
  • ¼ teasp salt
  • 85g/½cup/4½ oz light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsps demerara sugar


  1. Combine raisins, cherries and tea. Leave to soak for as long as you can.
  2. preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a loaf tin with butter.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl mix together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg to this second bowl and mix in.
  6. Stir the two mixtures together until smooth, then add whisky and…..
  7. ……pour into loaf pan, WHICH YOU HAVE REMEMBERED TO GREASE and sprinkle with demerara sugar, then bake for anything between 40 minutes to an hour – it’s done when a skewer comes out clean.
  8. take out of the oven, stick the skewer down about half way in about ten places, and drizzle the whisky over the hot cake.
  9. Allow to cool on a rack.
  10. Serve warm with crème fraiche, or cool with butter.


Ullapool art cake

Ullapool art cake… a source of inspiration