Porter Cake
An old family favorite, solid and darkly sweet

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Porter Cake

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Adjust Servings:
1 pound All-purpose flour
0.5 pound Butter Or baking shortening
0.5 pound Granulated sugar
1 pound Sultanas or raisins
2 Large eggs
1 cup Porter or stout
1 rounded teaspoon Baking powder
2 ounces Mixed peel Chopped
0.5 teaspoon Nutmeg - ground
0.5 teaspoon Cinnamon
0.5 teaspoon Allspice

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    Based on the Irish working man's favorite drink, a cake rich with fruit and spice

    • Serves 6
    • Medium




    Somewhere along the line in the 1800’s, it occurred to somebody in Ireland that the dark beer called porter would make a good addition to the robust dark flavor of the standard fruitcake. That may have been when porter cake was born.

    Porter cake usually contains, at the very least, raisins or sultanas (golden raisins): often dried candied peel (orange peel, lemon peel, candied pineapple, and sometimes even glacé cherries, come into the recipe as well. All the alcohol in the porter is of course driven off during the long baking period, resulting in a darkly rich-tasting cake which is another great standby for those who like to wheel out a well-loaded tea trolley.

    A hint of you’re using Guinness in this recipe instead of porter: Increase the spices by about one half so they won’t be “drowned out” by the stronger flavor of the Guinness.

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    Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C and butter a nine-inch springform cake pan / tin.

    Sieve together the flour, salt and baking powder (or pulse them a number of times in the food processor). Add the sugar, the nutmeg and the spices and stir / pulse again.


    Cut in the butter finely using a pastry blender, or else process the butter with the flour mixture until it achieves a fine cornmeal texture. Add the fruit. (For a finer texture, if using a food processor, add about half the fruit and process it along with the flour mixture until finely chopped. Then add the rest of the fruit.)


    Beat the eggs together with the stout. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the wet ingredients and stir until well mixed. Spread the mixture in the springform pan and smooth the top.


    Bake for 2 1/2 hours at 350F / 175C.

    Remove the springform and cool the cake on a rack. As soon as it's completely cool, seal in a cake tin or Zip-Loc bag.


    I write for a living. But food is one of my favorite hobbies... learning about it, cooking it, eating it!

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