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Porter cake 5h8a4859
Harry Weir

Traditional Irish porter cake

An easy to make classic.

Serving: Serves 12–16


  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 225g Demerara sugar
  • 225g butter
  • 450g mixed dried fruit, such as sultanas, currants, raisins
  • 110g mixed peel
  • 1 orange, grated zest
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 large tablespoon black treacle
  • 350ml porter, such as Guinness
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line a 20cm round cake ti n with grease-proof paper. Make sure the tin is well greased so as to allow the cake to just slip out when it is cooked.
  2. In a large bowl, sieve the plain flour with the baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix these ingredients well to make sure the baking powder is well dispersed.
  3. Add in the sugar and the butter. Rub the butter into the mix with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. At this stage, add in the mixed dried fruit, mixed peel and orange zest and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, treacle and porter and add into the dry ingredients. Beat well with a wooden spoon until well combined together. Ensure that there is no trace of the dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Pour the cake mixture into the previously prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 45 minutes. At this stage, reduce the heat to 150ºC/gas mark 2 for a remaining 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool in the tin and then remove the cake and place it on a serving platter. Place the apricot jam in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water and bring to a rapid boil. Brush the cake with the boiled apricot jam, which will give it a really nice glaze. The cake is now ready to be served and is delicious hot or cold.

Recipe Credit: Edward Hayden

Photography: Brian Clarke at Harry Weir


Check the cake after an hour and, if it is browning too quickly, cover with a double layer of grease-proof paper or tinfoil until baked.