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Irish Porter Cake

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Servings: 10-12
Porter Cake - An Irish Specialty

Guinness Stout gives Irish Porter Cake (also known as Guinness Cake) its unique taste. A holiday tradition, this cake, packed with dried fruits and spices, was born out of necessity. In the 1800's when many of the Irish lived in poverty, bread was the mainstay of a family's diet. For special occasions dried fruit, eggs, and Porter, a weaker brew popular with the working man of that time but now rarely made, was added, creating this fruitcake-like specialty.

Try making this wonderful and traditional Irish Porter Cake for St. Patrick's Day, or make it for Christmas instead of traditional Christmas Pudding or fruitcake.

1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz/226 g) butter
1 1/2 cups light or dark brown sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice or pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups currants or sultanas
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon, grated
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
1/2 cup glace or candied cherries, chopped into halves (optional)
12 oz. Porter or Guinness Stout (any Irish stout can be used instead)

Garnish (optional)
Confectioners' sugar
Creme Fraiche, Custard or Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C). Grease a 9 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan and line the base with 2 sheets of wax or parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Gradually beat in 2 eggs, then add 1 cup of the flour and the mixed spice (or pumpkin pie spice, if using), and beat until combined.

Beat in the remaining 2 eggs, the remaining flour, and both the orange and the lemon zest. Add the raisins and currants (or sultanas, if using) and the chopped walnuts or almonds (if using), and the chopped cherries (if using). Stir to mix them in. Finally add 1/3 cup of the Guinness or other stout and mix again.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F (150 C) and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. To test, insert a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then remove it from the pan and strip the parchment or wax paper from the bottom.

While it is still warm, put it on a plate, upside down. Prick the cake several times with a skewer and spoon over half of the remaining Guinness. When the cake has absorbed this, spoon over the remainder. Go slowly so that the cake will absorb it. Turn cake over and let cool.
When cake is completely cool, dust top with confectioners' sugar, slice, and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or custard, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. This cake keeps well for a week tightly wraped in plastic wrap.

I recommend mixing the raisins and other dried fruit the and candied cherries with about 2 or so tablespoons of flour before stirring into cake batter. This will help them from sinking down to the bottom of the cake.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2004

Source: DianasDesserts.com
Date: March 16, 2004


Reviewer: kandy land

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