Traditional Irish Gur Cake Recipe (Perfect for St. Patrick's Day)

Updated on January 26, 2018
GUR CAKE | Source

Irish Gur cake, also known as "fruit slices" and "chester cake," was originally devised by bakers in the 1930s to use up left-over bread at the end of the week. It is available now in almost every bakery shop in the country on a daily basis; like many other traditional foods, it has fallen prey to mass production.

I have to admit, I find the mass-produced version dry, and in my opinion, it bears little resemblance in taste to the homemade ones with which I grew up.

Of course, like almost everything my mother baked, getting exact measurements wasn’t easy. She gauged by the handful, and a keen eye.

As luck would have it, I found an old recipe with more precise measurements, and with a little adjusting here and there, I finally managed to make some, just as good as my mother’s offerings!

It is a delicious any-time-of-day snack and a perfect dessert. It can be served with custard, cream, or ice cream. But, in my view, it’s best eaten on its own with a nice cup of tea.

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3.1 stars from 24 ratings of Gur Cake

Ingredients For Gur Cake

  • 2 cups / 12 ozs plain flour
  • 6 ozs butter or margarine, diced
  • 8 tablespoons cold water
  • Pinch salt, omit if using salted butter
  • 12 regular slices of white bread or any leftover bread.
  • 1 cup of strong tea
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruit, raisins/sultanas
  • 21/2 teaspoons mixed spice or cinnamon


  1. To Make Pastry - Use a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt and blend in the cold butter, bind the mixture together with the cold water. Divide the pastry in half, and wrap one of the halves in plastic wrap and refrigerate for later use. On a floured surface, thinly roll out the remaining pastry and line the base of a greased rectangular 11x7x1/1/2 inch (28x18x4 cm) cake tin. Refrigerate while you are preparing the filling.
  2. For filling - Soak the bread slices in the strongly brewed tea; mash very well with a fork until smooth. Stir in the sugar, the dried fruit, and mixed spice (or cinnamon, if using) and set aside for an hour or two to let the dried fruit plump up. You may also, if you wish, leave this refrigerated overnight.
  3. To assemble - Remove pastry lined pan and remaining pastry half from refrigerator. Spread the filling on the pastry base. Roll out remaining pastry, and place it over the filling. Prick the pastry top all over gently with a fork. Press well down and brush the top with a little cold milk. Bake at 400 degrees F/ 200C/ or Gas Mark 6, for approximately 30 minutes or until pastry crust is golden brown. Remove cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack; allow to cool completely in the tin. When ready to serve, cut into slices or squares - and enjoy.

Nutrition values using standard ingredients

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 31/2 x 2 approx.
Calories 350
Calories from Fat126
% Daily Value *
Fat 14 g22%
Saturated fat 8 g40%
Unsaturated fat 1 g
Carbohydrates 62 g21%
Sugar 40 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 3 g6%
Cholesterol 37 mg12%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Cook Time

Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 8-10 helpings

Low-fat substitutes

You may choose to use a low-fat margarine product,instead of butter. This will alter the above nutritional values accordingly.


Questions & Answers


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      • itakins profile image

        itakins 6 years ago from Irl

        Hi GusTheRedneck -

        You know you really don't taste the tea in the cake so much,the fruit really is the main flavour.You could make very weak tea ,of course.As for a beverage to accompany it....whatever's your fancy,even coffee.

      • GusTheRedneck profile image

        Gustave Kilthau 6 years ago from USA

        Howdy itakins - I have been sitting here, reading your recipe and the article sandwiching it, "tasting" that strong tea flavor, but wondering if other flavors might go well with the rest of it. One more kitchen experiment to attempt here. Thanks.

        Gus :-)))

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 6 years ago from Irl

        Thanks so much Tracy Lynn -this is well worth a try.I can't pretend I have ever made it as well as my mum did -but I try....and the kids love it.

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

        Tracy Lynn Conway 6 years ago from Virginia, USA

        I think you read my mind. I have four kids and as you can imagine, we go through a lot of bread. Every time I throw out the ends or stale bits I think, gee, there must be something I could do with these. My Mom has made bread pudding and my husband makes croutons sometimes but this certainly looks interesting. This is my month doing things Irish, so I will put this on the 'to-make' list. Great hub, thanks. LOVE the traditional foods and the fact that your Mom never measured, frustrating but sweet. ~voted up~

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 6 years ago from Irl

        FordeAhearn-Thank you kindly -enjoy.I heard lately it's also a great way of using up abandoned Christmas cake or pudding -Haven't tried that yet ,but I intend to soon.

      • FordeAhern profile image

        FordeAhern 6 years ago from Broadford, Co. Limerick. ireland

        Love you recipe.Thank you. I will try it hopefully next weekend. voted up and useful

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 6 years ago from Irl


        I spotted your lovely comment languishing here without a response-my apologies.I hope it worked out well for you.

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 6 years ago from Irl


        You are so welcome -I'm delighted you got the chance to enjoy good old gur cake here in Ireland .Hopefully you will enjoy many more slices when you get going with the recipe.So many of the 'oldtimers' made it beautifully ,but never wrote it down!

      • profile image

        joancarolyn 6 years ago

        I have just returned from a visit to Dublin. I made a point to visit Catherine's Bakery on Meathe Street to enjoy once again the Fruit Slices. Because I had heard it was a traditional food prepared without recipes, it never occurred to me to locate a recipe online until today. What a beautiful thing this is! Thank you.

      • BukowskiBabe profile image

        BukowskiBabe 6 years ago from Somewhere in the middle of it all.

        I've never heard of this type of cake. Will be making this winter. Thank you for sharing.

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 7 years ago from Irl


        or even try it yourself:)

      • opismedia profile image

        opismedia 7 years ago

        Hmmmmm yummy, i'll bookmark this hub and ask my wife to follow these steps. Who knows maybe i'll feel the taste of irish cake :). Thanks

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 7 years ago from Irl


        That's how it's done-my mother -being a Northern woman used to say 'a lock of this and a lock of that-' I never quite worked that one out!

        I'm thrilled to hear it's still popular:)

      • viking305 profile image

        L M Reid 7 years ago from Ireland

        Looks lovely yes and tastes great too. My mother stil makes this cake for all the family. And yes she uses her own measurements too, a handful here and pinch there lol

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 7 years ago from Irl

        Thank you Garlic Angel-are you Irish by any chance?My mum used to make it also-we loved it as kids.

      • Garlic Angel profile image

        Christine 7 years ago from Dublin

        My mum makes this she and all my family love it,, fair play to you itakins for the hub...

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl


        It's deliciously gorgeous.

      • Lamme profile image

        Lamme 8 years ago

        This sounds really good. I've never heard of anything like it. I'm anxious to give it a try!

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl

        it's just me

        I really hopethey like it -my mother used to make it freuently and we could never get enough.

      • It's just me profile image

        It's just me 8 years ago from Alaska

        I know what I'm making for the boys after school treat today. Thank you for the recipe!

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl

        It's poor old St Patrick who did it.

        Beannachtaí agus Siocháin ort an lá Fhéile Phadraig seo.

        Blessings and Peace to you this St. Patrick's day.

      • Make  Money profile image

        Make Money 8 years ago from Ontario

        Well aren't you looking awful green today itakins. :-)

        Happy Saint Patrick's Day. Erin Go Bragh


      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl

        Good question-

        In Ireland the term gurrier is used ,especially in Dubin,for 'louts' or thuggish types-it is believed that these guys bought this cake because it was the cheapest one available-thus 'gur'.Some people think it's an abbreviated version of a french term(which eludes me!)-but I would suspect that's a wee bit iffy.

      • christinecook profile image

        christinecook 8 years ago

        sound interesting. where did they come up with the name?

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl


        It is really nice and so easy to make.

      • prasetio30 profile image

        prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

        I never know about Gur cake. But it looks delicious. It looks easy to make this cake. I'll try to make it at home. thanks

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl


        We always use the standard packed dried fruits -sultanas and/or raisins -really what you would use to make any fruit cake.

      • habee profile image

        Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

        I want to try this. Which dried fruit do you recommend?

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl

        You are welcome-I hope you enjoy it.

      • profile image

        TheSablirab 8 years ago

        Something I will have to try. I've stumbled across several receipes over the past coulpe days on Hubpages that I'll have to try! This is merely one of them. Thanks for the Hub!

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl

        Rose West-

        It really is delicious-and if you can make pastry ,the rest is a doddle!

      • Rose West profile image

        Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

        Sounds really delicious - I'll bookmark this for a future baking day! Thanks!

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl

        Hi 2uesday-

        It's scrumptious.

      • 2uesday profile image

        2uesday 8 years ago

        sounds delicious - thanks itakins

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl


        Await delivery-enjoy!

      • itakins profile image

        itakins 8 years ago from Irl


        Excellent idea-enjoy.

      • lmmartin profile image

        lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

        Sounds yummy! I'd say I'll try it sometime, but I don't bake. Maybe you should send me some.

      • breakfastpop profile image

        breakfastpop 8 years ago

        Sounds delicious and a perfect project for a very snowy week-end. Thanks so much for sharing.