Guinness cake

It just wouldn’t be St Patrick’s Day without St Patrick’s favorite cake. Right in the Book of Kells itself, it states that his preferred dessert of choice was Guinness Cake.

This year I made it with dates, cherries and a few prunes. I filled the slices with orange butter cream. I’m pretty sure St Patrick would have sure and begorrahed it.



Also, Guinness cake 2019

This is Nigella Lawson’s so-called Guinness cake. It’s a chocolate Guinness cake so it feels about as much Irish as she is. The idea though is to make it look like a glass of Guinness, dark with white foam on top. I know, corny, even the Royal Indian Mounted Police rolled his eyes audibly when I said I was going to make it. He rolled his eyes, my grandmother and possibly my father are rolling in their graves (seems like there’s been quite of that lately), although my dad became more tolerant of Irish festivities as he aged. The traditional standing at the piano weeping while my grandmother played, and we sang, bitter English-hating music seems to have lost its steam after she died and he mellowed about the whole English situation years later.

Anyway it was easy enough to whip out. And looks like something St Patrick himself might have made. 



Compelled by ancient tradition

I made Guinness cake the day before St Patrick’s Day.

A pound of fruit (chopped), a pound of flour, a bottle of Guinness and an hour later…cake. The problem with this stuff is that I’ll just goddam eat it. I took it to book club to get it out of the house. I don’t know if they were being polite but they ate it.



‘Tis the season

As the St Patrick’s Day octave of celebration continues, the uproarious fun of making Guinness Cake was on the schedule. Recipe here. Soaking dried fruit in Guinness stout is the most fun part of the process. It reminds me of myself, except for the stout. I’d prefer to be soaked in cabernet.

Now I have to find some people to foist it all off on. No doubt no one in my office will eat it because it has raisins in it. Actually it doesn’t it has apricots, dates and prunes but the people in my office are, for the most part, a suspicious group, they’ve never met a conspiracy they couldn’t call their own. So they won’t eat it, suspecting, as they will, that there are raisins in or that it might be “raisiny” as someone put it the last time I made something without raisins that he refused to eat.


Guinness Cake

I can’t let St Patrick’s Day get too far past without a shout out to my friend Eithne. She gave me this recipe in the early 80s and I make it every year. This year I tried to find it online and discovered that it doesn’t exist there, at least not that I could find. When she gave it to me—off the top of her head, she told me— that it was a “family recipe.”

I really love this stuff. And it’s particularly good with brie cheese on it.

Recipe follows




Guinness Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

It’s best to use a scale for measuring here. I have used dry measures and it worked but if you have your scale handy and a large processor it’s a lot easier.

1 pound dried fruit chopped well. I used cherries, dates, prunes and white raisins. Anything works.

1 cup walnut pieces

12 oz Guinness (a small bottle)

Pour over fruit and let sit.

Into the bowl of a processor put:

1 lb flour

1/2 lb brown sugar

2 TB cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp salt

And then process briefly to combine.