Porter cake is a traditional Irish dessert fruit cake.
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5 from 1 vote

Irish Porter Cake

Irish porter cake is known for its rich dark fruit sweetness and spice. Prepared in the style of boiled fruit cakes it can save for many days and the flavors develop and intensify. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Irish
Calories: 522kcal
Author: CraftBeering


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 12 oz porter ale (substitute with stout)
  • 1 cup golden raisins (aka sultanas)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup citrus peel (or candied orange slices, chopped small)
  • 1 orange , zest of only
  • 3 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice (or 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice)
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup cherries (optional) pitted, halved


  • In a small pan melt the butter with the sugar and add the porter. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the sultanas, raisins, citrus peel and the zest of the orange. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins. Remove from heat and let cool down until lukewarm.
  • Turn the oven to 350 F. 
  • Sift the flour, add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and spice and mix.
  • Add the cooled down fruit and porter mixture to the flour and mix. If using cherries, fold them into the mixture. 
  • Slowly add the beaten eggs and carefully incorporate into the cake batter.
  • Line and grease a spring form pan* and transfer the batter in it. 
  • Bake for just over and hour or until a toothpick inserted deep in the center comes out clean. 
  • Remove the cake from the oven and (optional) drizzle a couple of tablespoons of porter over it to keep it moist.
    Let is cool of completely and transfer to a cake tin or other airtight container. 
  • Porter cake develops flavors over time and is best enjoyed after a day or two. You can also feed the cake** if planning on keeping it around longer. 



If you choose to add cherries, fold them into the batter right before you add the eggs. Fresh, thawed frozen cherries or dark cherries in sweet syrup will all work.
Traditionally the cake is not eaten right after it is baked. Two to three days of waiting before the first slice is cut is typical.
The cake 'improves' as it matures. Keep it in an air tight container. 
*See section on 'feeding the cake'under the recipe card if you are interested. 
** See step by steps pictures on how to line a springform cake pan below.