There’s an old Dublin term used to describe a young boy, a messer, somebody who gets up to mischief. That word is “gurrier”. In the early 1900s this was a kid who probably lived in the city center tenements, they’d duck and dive around the city center, grabbing food as and where they could. In the bakery, any cake cuttings and stale bread on the floor at the end of the day went to the gurriers, who would bring them home to transform into a treat (Gur Cake) that is still made to this day in Manning’s Bakery. If you’d like to read more about life in the tenements at the turn of the century, see can you get your hands on a copy of “Gur Cake And Coal Blocks” by Éamonn MacThomáis. It’s not in print anymore but I know there are copies in public libraries around the country and I'm sure there is a copy in Marsh’s Library and the Trinity College library too.
Gur cake is a pastry confection traditionally associated with Dublin, Ireland. Known as Chester cake in other areas, and gudge or donkey's gudge in Cork, it is similar to what is termed flies’ graveyard in parts of the UK and consists of a thick layer of filling between two thin layers of pastry. The filling is a dark brown paste, containing a mixture of cake/breadcrumbs, dried fruits (sultana raisins, etc.), and a sweetener/binder. It has traditionally been a cheap confection, made from bakery leftovers.
*Its name is thought to be a contraction of "gurrier cake". Children who skipped school were known as gurriers and the act of skipping school became known as "on the gur". As Gur cake was made of leftovers, it was one of the cheaper items in bakeries and, therefore, one of the few items affordable to a child 'on the gur'.
In bakeries, it is typically sold cut into squares of about 8 cm by 3 cm thick. In Dublin, Gur cake is regarded as symbolic of working-class areas, being highlighted in books such as Gur Cake and Coal Blocks (1976) by historian Éamonn Mac Thomáis.
Gur cake was an inexpensive but delicious cake popular throughout Ireland. It's different in each bakery, depending on the baker's choice of spices or the type of leftover cakes used in the mix that day.
At The Bakehouse they aim to offer traditional, flavorsome, homemade Irish foods and baked goods. Classic food from a simpler time, that our parents and grandparents grew up on. The sort of food that gives comfort like a good hug. Simple....but epic all at once.
"Our foods and baked goods are freshly prepared in our kitchen and bakery in Dublin City Centre. Every day we lovingly bake all the bread and cakes, we make all the soups, sauces, and relishes, etc. to make sure we give you the best and freshest home-cooked flavors. We're located on the Dublin Docklands in the heart of the International Financial Services Centre – this location is within one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Dublin. Every day, we love serving our lovely loyal customers along with the many tourists visiting CHQ and have something to enjoy for any time of day."
"Return to Dublin"
[Issue 2 of volume 1]