Gur cake is a pastry confection traditionally associated with Dublin, Ireland. The filling is a dark brown paste, including a mixture of cake/bread crumbs, dried fruits (sultana raisins etc.), and a sweetener/binder. It has actually typically been a cheap confection, made from pastry shop leftovers.
Its name is thought to be a contraction of “gurrier cake”. Children who avoided school were called gurriers and the act of skipping school ended up being known as to be ‘on the gur’. Gur cake being made from leftovers was one of the cheaper item in bakeries and as such all they might pay for. In pastry shops, it is typically sold cut into squares of about 8 cm by 3 cm thick. In Dublin, Gur cake is regarded as symbolic of working-class areas, being highlighted in books such as Gur Cake and Coal Blocks (1976) by historian Éamonn Mac Thomáis.
200g shortcrust pastry
500g stagnant cake crumbs (I used portercake here).
150ml strong tea.
150ml orange juice.
1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon & ginger.
20g caster sugar (for cleaning).
1. Preheat a (fan) oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line a deep baking tin well. I utilized a tin that was 18cm x 25cm then an additional 8cm deep.
2. The pastry does not require to rise up the sides so a little larger is alright due to the fact that you can trim the pastry. Location half the pastry into the bottom of the tin and trim if you have to.
3. In a large bowl, integrate the cake crumbs, tea, orange juice and ground spices. Spoon the damp mixture on top of the pastry base and smooth up until it’s level.
4. Place the second half of the pastry on top of the filling and trim if you need to. Prick the pastry top all over with a fork. Sprinkle the leading with caster sugar.
5. Bake in the oven for 90 minutes. Enable and remove to cool totally prior to slicing.
6. Delight in gur cake with a cup of strong tea.
To a young Dublin “jackeen”, going on the gur’ meant mitching from, skiving off, or taking an unathorizied day of rest, school. A sensible (gurrier) would have acquired the price of a piece of gur cake to sustain him. Gur cake is, obviously, a creation of industrial pastry shops to use up unsold cakes and breads-by it’s really nature the taste and texture changed from day to day. Lefovers are blended, with a little extra dried fruit and sufficient water to bind the lot into a moist gunge (certainly, the Cork variation was typically called “donkey’s gunge”), sandwiched between 2 layers of robust pastry, baked then cut into great sized chunks. This concoction, constantly the cheaped product on sale in the bakery store, was much beloved of Dublin gurriers, particularly when hot and steaming from the oven.
Gur cake is still on sale in the city of Dublin, particularly in the Liberties. Somewhere else, similar cake goes by the grand titile of “fruit slice”. If you are thrifty and into recycling you might like to attempt this domestic version. It readies made with exhausted Christmas cake or pudding, with boiled fruit cake, brack, sponge cake and bread. Certainly, the more bread in the mix the more dried fruit you have to include.