As the generous, realistic Irish woman that I am, I've decided to extend the 25% discount on the sale of my "Christmas Flavors of Ireland" cookbook to September 17, or the fabulous pseudo-holday known as "Halfway to St. Patrick's Day." With that in mind, please enjoy one of my favorite recipes with the word "Irish" in it, my friend Mary Degnan's "Irish Soda Bread." It's featured in  my "Flavors of Ireland" cookbook and is a winner by all accounts.

Irish Soda Bread
Makes 1 loaf


This version of soda bread is sweet and cakelike, often called “Irish Bread” in the U.S., where it makes its annual appearance around St. Patrick’s Day. The bread is made with white flour, caraway seeds, and raisins, similar to what the Irish call “Spotted Dog,” “Railway Cake,” or “Curnie Cake,” depending on the area where it’s made. This recipe originated with Kathleen McGuire, a Donegal native, who passed it along to her daughters, including Mary Degnan. While I’ve published versions in several cookbooks, this one made its first appearance in Flavors of Ireland.


3 cups/350 g all-purpose flour

2/3 cup/150 g granulated sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups/175 g raisins, or half raisins and half sultanas (golden raisins)

3 tsp. caraway seeds

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cups/500 ml buttermilk

2 tbsp. salted butter, melted

Softened butter for serving


1. Preheat the oven to 350° F/180 °C. Grease a 9 in./23 cm round baking pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. Make a well in the center and stir in the eggs, buttermilk, and butter.

3. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes and then invert the bread onto the rack and let cool completely before slicing. Serve slices spread with butter.

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Tags: Books, Food, Hospitality, Recipes


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