Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Irish Porter Cake

Much loved in Southern Ireland, this traditional cake is made with porter or stout (me neither!).   I made this as a tribute to my Irish aunt, who passed away recently, and whose funeral was celebrated with porter cake, as she loved it so much.  I used Shepherd Neame's Double Stout, as the Kentish alternative to porter or Guinness.   It makes a delicious dark cake, but watch the top, as it browns very quickly.   The recipe I found by the Ballymaloe Cookery School said it had to be cooked for 2.5 hours, but that was an over-estimate. You could make it with a spread instead of butter so that it was dairy-free.

Irish Porter Cake

Traditional Irish Porter Cake

1lb/450g plain flour
large pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
8oz/225g soft brown sugar
8oz/225g softened butter
4oz/110g glacé cherries
14oz/400g raisins/sultanas (or mixed)
2oz 50g chopped mixed peel
2 large eggs, beaten
10floz/300ml porter or stout

Preheat oven to 180 deg C, grease and line the base and sides of an 8” cake tin with non-stick baking parchment. 

Pour the porter onto the fruit and let it sit for a few minutes while you start the cake.  Sieve the flour, salt, spices and baking powder into a Kenwood/Kitchen Aid mixer.  Add the sugar and beat in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.  Drain and add the fruit (don’t throw the porter away!).   Mix the porter with the eggs, and add to the mixture.  Beat well.  Pour into the tin, and bake for about 1 ½ hours, turning the oven down to approx 160 deg C after the first hour.   If the cake looks as though it is getting too brown, protect the top with a piece of foil.  When it has cooked, leave in the tin and allow it to cool before storing it in an airtight tin. 

To test if the cake is cooked, a (warmed) knife or skewer stuck in to it should come out clean.  You can also hear it singing! 

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