The key to a rich Celtic Cake is to let it mellow, adding a splash of whiskey every day or so.


2 cups (500 ml) of raisins
2 cups (500 ml) of sultanas or baking raisins
2 cups (500 ml) of currants
1 cup (250 ml) of slivered or chopped almonds
1 cup (250 ml) of candied cherries
1 cup (250 ml) of candied peel
2-1/2 cups (625 ml) of self-rising flour
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1 tsp (5 ml) of cinnamon
1 tsp (5 ml) of nutmeg
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) of ground clove
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) of ground ginger
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) of allspice
2 cups (500 ml) of butter, softened but not melted
2 cups (500 ml) of dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (62.5 ml) of molasses
Juice of one lemon and one orange
6 extra large eggs
1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 ml) of brandy, whiskey or rum


-Preheat oven to 325 F (175 C)
-Line the sides and bottom of a spring-form pan with parchment paper and set aside.
-In a large bowl, mix together the fruit, almonds and ¼ of the flour.
-In a separate bowl, cream together the dark brown sugar and the softened -butter. Add the molasses and the lemon and orange juice.
-Beat together the eggs and vanilla and blend into the butter mixture.
-Sift the remaining flour, salt, and spices together and add to the floured fruit and nut mixture.
-Mix all ingredients plus 1/4 cup (62.5 ml) of the spirits, stir well until all of the ingredients are well mixed.
-Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50 minutes. Turn the heat down to 300 F (150 C) and continue to bake, checking frequently, for 3 or 4 hours longer.
-The cake is done when a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
-Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. Poke small holes in the top of the cake and pour in remainder of the spirits. Wrap in a layer of waxed paper and then in aluminum foil to seal. Allow to sit in a cool place for at least 2 weeks, adding a little of the spirits every other day to keep it moist.

Traditional Icing

8 cups (2 L) sifted confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup (190 ml) of water
3 tbsp (45 ml) light corn syrup
2 tsp (10 ml) almond extract


-Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 92 F (33 C). The mixture should be slightly thickened, but thin enough to pour.
-Place cake on a wire rack with a plate beneath it to catch any drips. Slowly pour the icing all over the cake in a circular motion, using a spatula to smooth. Place in a cool place to let the icing set.
-Decorate as desired. One lovely idea is to add sprigs of fresh lavender, a popular Irish wedding flower.
-For an even more traditional icing, add a layer of apricot jam and a layer of marzipan before adding the topping.

Ith do shàth!