There are some friends we can always go to for a reliable recipe when we want to try something new. Mary Ellen Mahan is one of those friends, and her family recipes are hard to beat. She recently shared her family recipe for an Irish porter cake. I knew it would be a hit even before sharing it with neighbors. It filled the house with a lovely scent while baking.
Baking is a tradition drawn from her grandmother that Mary Ellen enjoys keeping alive. Sharing recipes, like Irish porter cake and Irish soda bread, allows us to stretch our memories beyond our home. Mary Ellen encourages everyone to learn more about their roots.There are some friends we can always go to for a reliable recipe when we want to try something new. Mary Ellen Mahan is one of those friends and her family recipes are hard to beat. She recently shared her family recipe for an Irish Porter Cake. I knew it would be a hit even before sharing it with neighbors. It it filled the house with a lovely scent while baking.
Mary Ellen was always aware of her Irish heritage but never pursued her family’s history until later in adulthood. On her journey of discovery she visited her ancestral home in Ireland. In fact, you can visit my “2 Weird Hungry Girls” podcast and listen as Mary Ellen talks about her favorite recipes and all of her priceless and comical memories surrounding it.
She said the Irish porter cake is often described as a fruitcake, but it reminded me of a dense, fruit and nut studded sweet bread. Either way you slice it, her family’s love of books and food is a passion Mary Ellen hopes to carry on and share with you.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature (preferably Irish, of course)
- 1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅔ cup stout or porter beer (Guinness in the Mahan home)
- 3 cups mix of dried fruits and nuts
- Grease a 8-inch square cake pan and line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well until combined; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, stirring until combined. Add the beer and mix to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients to the batter and mix until combined. Fold in the fruit and nut mix. Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake for one hour at 325ºF. Lower the temperature to 300ºF and bake for one hour and a half, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- One view is that this cake should be cooled and stored before enjoying it. I would suggest you open another stout, slather a piece with butter and savor it before it gets cold.
- There are two baking temperatures for this recipe. Be sure to set your timer and adjust for the remaining baking time.