breads | cake | irish | recipe | st. patrick's day

Irish Soda Cake.

March 17, 2008

Ah, Irish soda bread. A staple this time of year.

Siobhan, my little Lefton Irish girl, wants some & she won’t take no for an answer.

This is an authentic family recipe, direct from Ireland. However, its been tweaked a bit over the years (more sugar added) to be more of a “cake” than a bread. This is the absolute BEST Irish soda bread recipe ever. Forget the hard, nasty store-bought ones with caraway seeds and raisins. This is where its at, my friends. Good straight out of the oven, with some butter or jam, or plain the next day. When I was in high school I used to bring some to have with lunch. Its delicious and very filling. You don’t have to be Irish to love this stuff.

Don’t let the term ‘cake’ fool you, it is indeed like a bread. Just a sweeter bread, not a bread you have with soup. More like one to have with tea. Or Guinness, the sweetness in Guinness is perfect with this.



  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps. melted shortening (or butter)
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  1. Make wet dough: mix salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour and sugar. Beat eggs lightly and add melted shortening and buttermilk.
  2. Mix all together.
  3. Grease a cake pan and spoon batter in.
  4. Before putting in the oven, sprinkle sugar on top and with a floured knife, make an X shape in the dough (allows air to release).
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.
Seamus is moving in on that slice… hopefully he’ll share…

He did… and now Seamus & Siobhan are full & happy!

You don’t need to use a beater to mix it, but if you use powdered buttermilk you may want to, just because sometimes it can be lumpy. Lumpy is okay with this batter, but if the lumps are big or still powdery, give it a mix or two. Although I warn you- it is a thick batter. And sometimes, a little overflow does happen, depending on the size of the pan you use and how good your baking powder is, so keep an eye out. This recipe is old, and like all old recipes, it wasn’t written with modern pans, ovens and ingredients in mind. So if your batter is too watery, add more flour. If it’s way too thick, add a bit more buttermilk. And if  it isn’t ready after 35 minutes, just leave it in until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. You can’t mess this up, trust me. My mother makes this without following the recipe and it’s a different texture every time. Also, if you’re a fan of currants or raisins, add ’em by all means.


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