Chester Squares (Irish Gur Cake)
A beloved bakery slice, Chester Squares or Gur Cake, is the king of cake leftovers. Mix old bread, cake or pudding with sultanas and you have a sweet mince meat filling crammed between two thick slices of pastry.
Servings 4 squares
- 8 slices white bread crusts removed, or 300g of old cake or muffins
- 1 cup cold black tea
- 2 sheets shortcrust pastry or homemade pastry
- 4 tbsp self-raising flour
- 1.5 cups sultanas 150g
- 1/3 cup golden syrup
- 1.5 tbsp mixed spice or 2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp cloves, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp ginger
Remove crusts on bread and break up roughly into a large bowl. Add the cold black tea and tear apart the bread with a fork until it’s combined and becomes like a stiff and pulpy porridge.
Add the self-raising flour, sultanas, golden syrup and mixed spice. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F.
Line a square baking tin with one sheet of thawed shortcrust pastry, cut to size. Layer with the fruit filling and top with one more ‘cut-to-fit’ sheet of shortcrust pastry.
Poke holes in the top with a fork, and pop into the oven to bake for 45 minutes.
Once cooked, sit on the bench to cool, then cut into squares.
Serve as is, or top with icing for an extra decadent slice.
- Topping Ideas and Serving Suggestions - Can top with powdered icing sugar, vanilla frosting and glace cherries or desiccated coconut. Try serving warm by heating in the microwave and serve with custard and ice-cream for dessert.
- Storage - Once cooked, Chester squares are best eaten within 3-4 days. You can store them on the bench or in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Can I make gur cake with leftover Christmas pudding or cake? You can definitely use leftover Christmas pudding instead of stale bread. Omit the sultanas and add an extra ½ - 1 cup of cake or pudding crumbs instead. If icing the tops, try dying the frosting red and green to make it Christmas themed.
- Ingredient Subs and Tips -
- Bread - We used plain white bread. You can leave it out on the bench for half a day if you want to make it even ‘staler’ before cooking. 8 slices equates to half an Australian standard loaf of bread, or 350g. Can substitute with old cake or muffins - just crumble at the bread step, and no need to allow to soak the mixture, like we do with the bread.
- Sultanas - You can use currants, raisins or mixed fruit in place of sultanas. For sultana haters, swap them out for stewed apples.
- Golden Syrup - Can use molasses, honey or brown sugar instead. If you want an extra sweet slice, bump this up to half a cup.
- Flour - We used self raising to speed things up. You can substitute this with all purpose flour and add ½ tsp of baking powder.
- Mixed Spice - If you don’t have mixed spice, sub out with 2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ground cloves, ½ tsp nutmeg and ½ tsp of ground ginger.
- Pastry - To save time, we used store bought shortcrust pastry, but you can also make your own if you prefer. Some people have even mentioned using the crusts of the bread as the top and bottom instead of pastry. Make sure to get your pastry out the freezer around 10 minutes before baking, so it’s thawed out and easy to handle.
- Add spiced alcohol - Add a shot of sherry or port to the tea for an added spice hit!
- Double It - You can double the recipe for a big batch, and cook it in a large baking dish instead of a square tin.
Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 478mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 57g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 174mg | Iron: 4mg