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Mr. Guinness’ Cake

Love it or leave it, fruitcake is as much a part of the winter holidays as candy canes. Mr. Guinness’ Cake originated in Ireland but you’ll find it similar to American fruitcakes with candied fruit, raisins, and nuts. Bake the cake, douse it with Guinness, and age for a week before serving.

What can I say about fruitcake that hasn’t been said? “Fruitcake makes a great filler for potholes.” “There’s only one in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” “Look at the world as a big fruitcake. It wouldn’t be complete without a few nuts in it.” I know all the jokes.

Finished Mr. Guinness' Cake on a white serving platter.

Say what you like about fruitcake. I like it. Always have. Dark fruitcakes, light fruitcakes, Irish fruitcakes. Love every one of them.

A few years ago, we had a little snow here around Atlanta. A little ice, too. Many of us were stuck inside our homes for a few days, and thousands were stuck on the roads in their cars overnight. To say it was a mess is an understatement.

So what do you do when you’re stuck at home? Well, I read cookbooks. So, while we were all confined to home that winter, I took the time to re-read one of my favorites, Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen.

That book is more than a cookbook. Honestly, it’s something of an encyclopedia. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this volume is all the historical information she gives on the recipes.

Take this recipe for Mr. Guinness’ Cake, for instance. Ms. Allen says that the recipe appeared as part of a Guinness advertisement many years ago. She quotes the ad as saying:

“Over the past couple of centuries, our beer has acquired a modest reputation, but our cake is still little known. This seems a pity, for one enthusiast has described it as like eating dreams.”

Most people will recognize the recipe as being similar to American fruitcake with its candied fruits and nuts. However, the taste is all its own. The Guinness that’s in the batter and poured over the finished cake takes this recipe to another level altogether.

🛒 Ingredient Notes


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  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (A convenient combination of spices typically used in making pumpkin pie. Find it in the spice aisle of your grocery store or make your own mix — see below.)
  • Dark Raisins and Golden Raisins (The recipe does call for both dark and golden raisins and I recommend using that mixture. You can, however, use all of one kind.)
  • Candied Orange and Lemon Peel (You’ll find candied peel available during the holiday season. Your grocery store likely has a display with fruitcake making ingredients. You can also order it online from King Arthur Flour.)
  • Pecans (The original recipe called for walnuts but I’ve used pecans to better suit my southern sensitibilities.)

The complete ingredient list with detailed measurements is included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

🥄 How to Make Mr. Guinness’ Cake


Heat the Oven and Prep the Pan

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Generously grease a 7-inch round, deep springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit the inside bottom of the pan. Grease the paper as well.

Make the Cake Batter

Photo collage showing creamed butter and sugar with eggs being added.

Use a stand mixer or a handheld mixer with a large bowl to cream together the butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Photo collage showing sifted flour and spices.

Using a sifter or sieve, sift the flour and spices together. Gently fold the dry mixture into the egg and butter mixture.

Add the Fruit and Nuts

Nut and fruit mixture added to mixing bowl.

Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir in the dark and golden raisins, orange and lemon peel, and pecans. Mix well together.

Add Guinness

Measuring out Guinness to add to recipe.

Stir 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the Guinness into the mixture.

Add to the Prepared Pan

Cake batter in a pan set on a baking sheet.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet.

Bake the Cake

Finished cake in pan sitting on a baking sheet.

Bake 1 hour. Reduce the heat to 300 and continue cooking for another 1 1/2 hours.

Add Guinness to Cooled Cake

Remove the cake from the oven and let it stand in its pan on a wire rack until completely cooled.

Guinness being poured over the cooled cake.

Carefully remove the cooled cake from the pan. Turn the cake over and prick the base of the cake all over with a skewer. Spoon or pour over the remaining 4-8 tablespoons of Guinness. Use as much as your cake will absorb.

Wrap Well and Let Stand

Turn the cake right side up and wrap it snugly in waxed paper. Place it in a sealed container or Ziploc bag. Refrigerate for one week before serving.

A slice of the finished cake on a serving plate.

❗ Recipe Tips


  • Be sure to plan ahead since this cake should sit for a week before serving.
  • To serve the cake, slice it into thin pieces with a very sharp knife. It’s perfect as is but can be embellished with a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche.
  • Be cautious since this cake does contain alcohol that has not been cooked off. It shouldn’t be served to children.
  • Store the cake well wrapped in the refrigerator.
  • The finished cake may be frozen. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze up to 3 months. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before slicing and serving.
Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

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Finished Mr. Guinness' Cake on a white serving platter.

Mr. Guinness’ Cake

Mr. Guinness' Cake is an Irish fruitcake recipe with candied fruit, raisins, and nuts. Douse the finished cake with Guinness, and age for a week before serving.
4.84 from 6 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 368kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 ⅔ cups dark raisins
  • 1 ⅔ cups golden raisins
  • cup candied orange peel
  • cup candied lemon peel
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 12 tablespoons Guinness (3/4 cup)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Generously grease a 7-inch round, deep springform cake pan. Cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit the inside bottom of the pan. Grease the paper as well.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light. Gradually beat in the eggs.
  • Sift the flour and spice together. Gently fold it into the mixture.
  • Add the dark and golden raisins, orange and lemon peel, and pecans. Mix well together. Stir 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the Guinness into the mixture.
  • Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 1 hour. Reduce the heat to 300 and continue cooking for another 1 1/2 hours.
  • Remove from the oven and let stand on a wire rack until completely cooled.
  • Remove the cake from pan. Prick the base of the cake all over with a skewer. Spoon over the remaining 4-8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 cup) of Guinness.
  • Wrap the cake snugly in waxed paper and place in a sealed container or Ziploc bag. Refrigerate for one week before serving.

Notes

  • Be sure to plan ahead since this cake should sit for a week before serving.
  • To serve the cake, slice it into thin pieces with a very sharp knife. It’s perfect as is but can be embellished with a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche.
  • Store the cake well wrapped in the refrigerator.
  • The finished cake may be frozen. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze up to 3 months. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 368kcal | Carbohydrates 53g | Protein 5g | Fat 17g | Saturated Fat 8g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 71mg | Sodium 130mg | Potassium 318mg | Fiber 3g | Sugar 25g | Vitamin A 419IU | Vitamin C 4mg | Calcium 44mg | Iron 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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This post was originally published on February 7, 2014. It has been updated with additional information.

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15 Comments

  1. what is guiness? I am thinking some sort of beer?I have never heard of guiness.

  2. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says:

    Great cake! I was mesmerized by the photos of Atlanta with snow…the traffic issues…ouch!!!

  3. Looks amazing, Lana! There’s a whole lot of goodness baked into that cake. Thanks for sharing. HUGS!!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Yes there is, Kelly! It’s just packed full of good stuff.

  4. oh Lordy Lana, that ice storm hit us too with a good wallop way down here on the coast, it was something else…
    your cake reminds me of the whiskey cakes my family made, as I remember it was mostly pecans and soaked with lots of whiskey and carried a wallop too… similar to Lane Cake but without icing

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      A cake full fruit and doused with whiskey is a very hard thing to beat, isn’t it? I do love a good Lane Cake and you reminded me that I haven’t made one in a long, long time! We’re about to get a repeat of that winter weather in the next few days. Wish us luck!

  5. Guinness is my all time favorite beer, a cake with the delicious beer sounds perfect to me! I have never heard of the recipe, but saved it on Pinterest to definitely make! Your cake looks so beautiful! What a perfect recipe to make when stuck in the house on a chilly day! Hugs, Terra

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      We always have Guinness in our fridge, Terra. I guess it’s my Irish roots but I just love to use it in cooking. I do hope you have a chance to try this cake one day. It’s most definitely delicious.

  6. Lana this really looks good and the beer would definitely give it a wonderful flavor. My daughter-in-law hales from Ireland and she will be surprised when I present her with this cake. I do have the 7″ pan but not the candied fruit. Hopefully, there will still be some in the store left from Christmas. :)

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Pat – I hope your daughter-in-law enjoys the cake! You can order the candied fruit online from King Arthur Flour year round if you need to.

  7. What an awesome cake! I love that you poured more Guinness over the top :)

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      It is pretty darned awesome, Sues! The Guinness gives it a really wonderful flavor. And, just by the way, it’s poured on the *bottom* of the cake actually ;-)

  8. I do not own a springform pan that deep. What do you recommend as a substitute?

    Looks great.

    Miss P

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I’m sure you could cook this cake in a tube or bundt pan. However, I’m also pretty sure the cooking time would be shorter. I haven’t tried it so I can’t give accurate timing. I actually ordered a 7″ springform pan just so I could make this cake according to the recipe :-)