This recipe is based on one in our ancient Cranks recipe book. It’s called Barabrith in there, but I’m not sure how authentic a version of the traditional Welsh tea bread this is. Authentic or not, it makes a delicious, moist, fruity loaf. Our boys really enjoy it, and we have the added pleasure of knowing that it’s pretty good for them too, as it contains no fat and very little added sugar.
This is a very forgiving recipe and responds well to being tweaked. You can use all kinds of different dried fruit, as long as the total comes in at around the 300g mark. If you don’t have a lemon, you can leave out the lemon zest without any major effect on the flavour, and you can use a different kind of sugar if you’ve run out of dark brown. You can experiment with the flour too – maybe using a mixture of white and brown, or just white, if that’s all you have in – you can also use self-raising flour, but remember to leave out the baking powder if you do. I like to use different kinds of tea to soak the fruit – as well as our favourite Yorkshire teabags, I’ve also tried Earl Grey, Redbush and Chai – I like it especially with Chai, because it adds to the general sweet spiciness. You need to soak the fruit for at least 4 hours, but this recipe works better if the fruit has been soaked overnight – so remember to start the day before.
Moist Fruity Tea Bread
40g soft dark brown sugar
Grated zest from half a lemon
400ml hot tea – make sure it’s nice a strong – 2 teabags required
350g plain wholemeal flour
1tsp baking powder
2tsp mixed spice
- Mix the fruit, sugar & lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and pour the hot tea over them. Cover and leave for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
- When you are ready to make the cake, line a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin and preheat your oven to 190C (Gas Mark 5).
- Now take your soaked fruit (no need to drain) and add all the other ingredients.
- Give it a thorough stir so that everything is well combined. You should have a soft dropping consistency. If the mixture is not quite soft enough, add a little milk to get the consistency required.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until the bread is risen and is firm and springy.
- I find that with my oven the loaf sometimes cooks to quickly on the top, so I always check after 35 minutes, and if the top of the cake is already well browned, I cover it with foil to prevent it burning.
- When you’ve taken the cake out of the oven leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then turn it out to finish cooling on a wire tray.
- Serve thinly sliced, with or without butter
Hopefully, whilst you’re reading this, we’ll be sitting in our tent eating a slice of this lovely tea bread. We always take some with us on camping trips because it keeps so well, and – bonus! – makes a brilliant breakfast if you haven’t had time to get bread.
Let us know how you get on with it!