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Porter Cake

I have a friend who loves cake and ale. There was only one cake that came to mind for her birthday; a Porter Cake. Yum.

Porter Cake


  • 175g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 450g raisins
  • Grated zest (on the large setting) of 2 medium oranges and juice 1.5 oranges
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 200ml Sainsbury’s London Porter
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 beaten medium eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger

For the topping

  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp Demerara sugar


  1. Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C. Butter and line the base and sides of two tin loafs. Put the butter, raisins, orange zest and juice, sugar and porter in a large pan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the boil, stirring until the butter has dissolved, then simmer for 10 mins.
  2. Cool for 10 mins, then stir in the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will foam up.
  3. Stir the eggs into the pan, then sift in the flour and spice and mix well. Pour into the prepared tins, smooth the top with the back of a spoon and sprinkle with the flaked almonds and demerara sugar. Bake for 1 hour and cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.



Inspired by the BBC good food recipe:


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Leyton Technical 1st Birthday Beer Festival

This weekend our favourite local drinking establishment has been celebrating its first birthday. Since becoming a permanent fixture post-Olympics it has also become a spot that we permanently take our friends and family to. So, we had to participate in this auspicious event! Taking it one step further, we found a ‘how to beer taste’* pointer list on the internet and set-to tasting. We got through 8 of the ales and a porter and here are our thoughts from least favourite to ‘please can I have another pint’…


8th –  Red Squirrel ‘Legally Blonde’ 4.0%

  • Appearance: light-medium brown and heady
  • Smell: really strange smell, very hoppy, chlorine was mentioned (warm swimming pool air)
  • Taste: the taste blows your mind, honey, hoppy, tangy, grassy
  • Overall: there are too many flavours which do not compliment each other, we would not go back for another one

7th Gyle ‘Pale and Bitter’ 5.0%

  • Appearance: light brown
  • Smell: very sweet smell, hoppy
  • Taste: we kid you not, this tastes like flat Fosters larger (described as when you come home from the shop with a 6-pack gagging for a pint so you put 5 in the freezer and battle through a luke-warm tinny – not nice)
  • Overall: cool it down and call it a larger

6th – Liverpool Organic ‘Best Bitter’ 4.2%

  • Appearance: light- medium brown
  • Smell: fresh biscuits, malty
  • Taste: very balanced
  • Overall: pleasant beer, but nothing special

5th Might Oak ‘Bobbing Along’ 3.8%

  • Appearance: medium brown
  • Smell: coffee, honey, tiramisu, flowery
  • Taste: watery and light with no real aftertaste
  • Overall: nothing wrong with this drink but not very memorable

4th Signature ‘Red Widge’ 4.7%

  • Appearance: mahogany (dark / red brown), flat
  • Smell: no smell (which we found odd!)
  • Taste: burnt, charcoal, dark treacle
  • Overall: nice intense flavours but a bit watery so the taste disappears quicker that you would like

3rd Magic Rock ‘The Magic Spanner’ 3.9%

  • Appearance: pale brown, flat
  • Smell: sweet, flowers and honey
  • Taste: tangy, sharpe, hoppy and floral
  • Overall: a very rounded drink

2nd Darkstar ‘Hophead’ 3.8%

  • Appearance: light brown, flat
  • Smell: flowery, hoppy
  • Taste: light ale with a lovely honey aftertaste
  • Overall: this would make an excellent session beer – back tonight boys?

1st Brewsters ‘Hop-A-Doodle-Do’ 4.3%

  • Appearance: medium brown, flat
  • Smell: caramel, sweet, yum
  • Taste: smooth and sweet
  • Overall: very rounded drink with hints of pudding, please can we have another pint?

The London Porter

  • Appearance: very dark
  • Smell: burnt, lightly aniseedy
  • Taste: smokey, charcoly, coffee, chocolaty goodness (kinky, filth)
  • Overall: quite thin for a Porter but yummy non-the-less

* Beardy does not beer taste, he beer drinks

images below from Leyton Technical Facebook page: