This is a recipe from my sister Mary, who inherited it from her Mother in law, Norah. They are both called Mrs. Hanly, so this is definitely their cake!
Porter is an Irish word for a very dark ale, such as Guinness. However, I went to make it one day and had all the ingredients, except the Porter, which I’d forgotten to buy. I phoned Mary in a panic and she said just to use beer, so I used one of my husband’s expensive German beers, and it turned out beautifully. Always worth knowing that there’s an alternative!
This is a huge cake and keeps almost forever, wrapped in grease-proof paper and put into a tin with a close fitting lid. It is terrific for school lunches, as it is your original ‘cut-and-come-again’ cake.
I like it as one big – and it is BIG – cake, but Mary has previously made it in two loaf tins with reduced cooking time.
EDIT: To make ONE 2lb loaf-tin sized cake, use half of the ingredients below, but use 2 eggs, and gave it 50-55minutes at 140Fan. Still a very substantial cake..
As you can see from the photograph, Mary wraps it up in tinfoil for keeping, and for travelling to grateful recipients!
- a 23cm circular cake tin, sides and base lined with baking parchment.
- Your largest saucepan – I use my cast iron casserole dish.
- a long-handled wooden spoon.
- A heat-proof board.
- 2 medium/large bowls.
- A sieve.
- 350g butter or margarine (I’m only putting the margarine in because it’s in the original recipe, but I use unsalted butter in this)
- 350g dark brown sugar
- 700g of sultanas, or fruit of your choice mixed – yes, this is a BIG cake!
- 300mls of Guinness
- 700g Self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
- 1 tsp each of mixed spice and ground cinnamon
- 3 large eggs
- Line and butter the tin
- Heat the oven to 140 degrees fan; cooking time will be up to 2 hours.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a large bowl, and leave to one side.
- Weigh the fruit into another bowl, then weigh in the sugar on top of it.
- Put the butter into the saucepan, and allow it to melt on the hob on a medium heat.
- Add the sugar and the fruit, and stir until sugar has dissolved – this happens very quickly, but do check the back of your spoon to make sure there are no grains of sugar left.
- Add the Guinness
- Remove the pot from the heat, and put it onto a level, heatproof surface – I use a wooden board.
- Sift in the flour mixture in batches, folding in well before any new addition.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
- Put the mixture into the prepared tin, it will look rather odd as it has a slightly strange consistency, but this is fine.
- Set the timer for 1 hour or so, then have a look. It won’t be done at this stage, but it’s a good time to turn the tin through 180 degrees, to allow it to bake evenly.
- Give it another half hour then start testing. Test every 15 minutes up to a final cooking time of about 2 hours. When the cake tester comes out dry, it’s done.
- If the cake starts to get too brown towards the end, cover it with a double sheet of brown paper with a hole cut in the top
- Beware: when Mary got a new oven, it took 15 minutes OFF the cooking time!
- Allow to cool in the tin for at least 1 hour. then remove to a cake rack.
- Allow to cool completely overnight, covered with a clean tea-towel. Don’t let the family nag you into cutting it before then, as it will be terribly crumbly and difficult to slice!
- This cake keeps really well – it appears to be the original Cut-and-Come-Again Cake. Mary used to put it into the kids’ lunchboxes when they were at school.
- I keep mine, wrapped in grease-proof paper, in a large tin, in a cool spot.
- Although it’s a lovely moist cake with a delicious flavour, and you can certainly eat it on it’s own, I do like a slice every now and then, with a generous spread of Irish butter!