Family Stories and Food, Mommy Dearest and Gur Cake, Uncategorized

Mommy Dearest and Gur Cake


As a child, I loved the sound of this cake but had no idea what it was. I heard others talk about it and when I asked Mommy Dearest to buy me a piece, she would constantly – and consistently – ignore my request.


And still I wanted to taste something which sounded like Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! What a great name! Where did it come from? I looked at a number of sources and there is a difference of opinion. While accepted as a mainstay of Dublin confectionary, some suggest ‘Gur’ is ‘Gutter’ pronounced in a strong Dublin accent while others think it is short for ‘Gurrier’as this cake was traditionally popular among poor children.[1] Why was it so cheap? The majority of the mix was made from the ends of stale bread so where the British made Bread and Butter Pudding, Dubliners made Gur Cake!


So what is this brilliantly named cake? It has short crust pastry either side and a dark brown filling of bread, dried fruit, brown sugar and mixed spice. When I finally encountered the illustrious Gur Cake, I realised that it was already a regular feature in our house – a firm favourite of Mommy Dearest who in her infinite poshness called it by its other name ‘Chester Cake.’

[1] A local word defined as ‘street urchin’.