Potato Barm Brack

Barm Brack is an Irish cake traditionally eaten at Hallowe’en. Potato is not normally an ingredient but gives it a respectable chewiness.


  • 8 oz (225 g) potatoes, cooked and puréed
  • 1 lb (450 g) self-raising flour
  • 8 oz (225 g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 6 oz (175 g) sultanas
  • 2 oz (50 g) raisins
  • 2 oz (50 g) glacé cherries, quartered
  • 10 fl oz (275 ml) milk


In a large bowl mix the potatoes with all the dry ingredients and lastly stir in the milk.

Grease an 8-inch (20 cm) ring tin and spoon the mixture into this. Bake at gas mark 4/350°F/180°C for 1 hour or until firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and serve warm in slices with butter.

‘Tea is frequently an abundant and delightful meal owing to the varieties of bread which are put on the table. Barm brack is an Irish word meaning “speckled cake” and besides barm bracks you will often have on the table scones and farls of wheaten, soda and Indian meal bread, oat cakes, slim cakes, seed cakes, loaves, potato bread, or fadge, and various other sorts of bread. You may not have all these on the table at once, but you will have a good number of them if you are invited to share the hospitality of a prosperous farmhouse.’

From Home Life in Ireland by Robert Lynd, 1909.