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We’ve got the perfect Irish recipe for you to treat your old man with this Sunday. While we’d never endorse a parent-child beer binge, one could hardly ignore such an opportunity to marry this (originally American) celebration with an unmistakably Irish toast.

More than twice as old as Father’s Day itself, the possibilities for Guinness stretch far beyond a pint (or several) in the pub. This versatile brew makes a marvellous addition to many recipes, adding a deep savour to dishes such as French toast or beef stew, and a wonderfully rich element to sweeter treats as well.

So, to show your appreciation this Father’s Day, why not bake this fabulous traditional Guinness cake, from Irish chef and food writer Darina Allen.

Guinness Cake

  • 1 cup / 220g butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1½ cups / 300g brown sugar
8 oz/120 ml 
  • Guinness stout
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup / 150g sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 1 cup / 150g raisins
  • ½ cup / 40g candied lemon or orange peel, or a combination of the two
  • 4 cups / 400g white flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (1 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground allspice or ground cloves, and ¼ tsp ground nutmeg)
  • ½ cup / 40g candied cherries
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C (Gas Mark 4). Lightly grease a deep 9in/23cm cake pan with butter.

Combine the butter and sugar together in a small saucepan and melt the butter over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then stir in the stout. Add the orange zest, sultanas, raisins, and candied lemon and / or orange peel. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and boil, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice together into a large bowl. When the Guinness mixture has cooled to lukewarm, stir it into the flour mixture. Stir in the cherries, then slowly add the eggs, mixing well. Spoon the batter into the pan, and bake for 1½ hours or until done.

Guinness, a rich history…

Guinness is 250 years old. The iconic drink has its roots in St James’s Gate, Dublin in 1759, in the brewery of one Arthur Guinnness. Its flavour comes from roasted unmalted barley, though the recipe has varied slightly over the years.

Today, Guinness is one of the most successful beer brands in the world, with 1.8 billion pints sold every year. It’s sold in over 120 countries, and brewed in nearly 60. Eternally associated with Ireland, there’s no doubt that Guinness’s popularity is assured for years to come.

… And a little about the day at hand

Father’s Day is almost 104 years old. It was first celebrated in 1910 in Spokane, Washington, the brainchild of 28-year-old Sonora Louise Smart. When Sonora was 16 her mother died giving birth to her fifth brother, leaving William Smart, the children’s father, to care for the family alone.

Sonora deeply admired her father’s tireless efforts to provide for his large family – which included eight more children by the couple’s previous marriages. On Mother’s Day in 1909 it occurred to her that it would be wonderful to also have a day dedicated to deserving Dads, and the first official Father’s Day was celebrated a year later.

For more stories on tracing your Irish heritage from findmypast click here.