St Patrick’s Day fun in March’s kitchen!

Martin asked me to do the ‘Bake of the Day’ for Radio York a couple of weeks ago – ‘something with Guiness in’ was the only stipulation as it was St Patrick’s Day! Of course it had to have some fruit or veg in it so I opted for this apple and ginger cake with a healthy glug of stout to keep it moist. Martin finished the can of Guiness whilst making the shamrock decorations!


Our apples are just about coming to the end of their storage life but they’ve done rally well. We keep them in crates in a cool, dark shed and regularly check them for any signs of browning or softening. The skins get a bit tough and the flesh softens  and gets sweeter as the winter progresses but are still quite usable – just don’t add as much sugar. We had great success with some that we kept a spare fridge but the best preserved were put in a large freezer bag. We sucked all the air out with a straw before sealing and keeping in the fridge. No good if you’ve got loads to store but great for a few.

St Patrick’s Day Guiness, apple and ginger cake

100g cooking apple, diced

150g raisins

50g stem ginger, diced

75g butter

100g dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

225ml stout

225g plain flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp salt

For the topping:

100g soft unsalted butter

100g icing sugar, sieved

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp ground ginger or 1 tsp grated root ginger

100g full fat cream cheese

20cm deep cake tin, greased and fully lined or a lined 2lb loaf tin


  • Sieve together the flour, ginger, bicarb, BP, and salt into a large bowl
  • Weigh out the other ingredients, mixing the raisins, apple and ginger together in a small bowl.
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  • Melt the butter gently in a large bowl in the microwave then when cooled a little add the sugar and beat together.
  • Beat in the eggs well then add the fruit and stir to combine.
  • Slowly pour in the Guiness and stir well together
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  • Tip the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together until everything is combined.
  • Pour into your cake tin and pop in the oven 180C (fan 160), 350F, gas 4 for about 45 minutes until the cake feels firm to touch and is golden brown. If making in a loaf tin the cake will need a little longer in the oven.
  • Leave for five minutes then turn out from the tin and remove the lining. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • For the topping – Beat together the butter and icing sugar until creamy and soft then add in the cornflour and ground ginger. (If using fresh root ginger put the grated ginger in a piece of kitchen roll or a small piece of muslin and squeeze out the juice)
  • Add half the cream cheese and beat gently into the mixture then follow with the second half. Don’t over beat.
  • Spread over the cooled cake and fork a random pattern over the top.
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  • If you’re making this in a loaf tin then you could decorate in the same way or simply leave then serve a slice spread with some butter.