My friend Dicky who I met on Twitter asked me if I was planning any Welsh bakes recently. I’ve been thinking about baking Welsh cakes for a little while and asked Dicky for his favourite Welsh baking recipes. He very kindly shared with me his Bara Brith recipe. This is a wonderful fruity tea loaf that’s feels so healthy I don’t feel any guilt in eating a slice or three… I absolutely loved this bake!
I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find self-raising wholemeal flour as I’ve never noticed it before in the local shops, but lo and behold I found it in the first place I looked. The stars had most definitely aligned to help me create this Welsh classic.
I soaked my fruit in hot strong black tea overnight. I must admit I had to improvise with the dried fruit that I had in the cupboard. I used a combination of sultanas and dried pear. (And threw in a little extra for luck!)
Unfortunately my measuring jug doesn’t have a vast amount of detail on it so I also guessed a little as to how much 2 thirds of a pint of tea is. I did add a little more freshly brewed tea to the final loaf mix later on as the fruit absorbed most of it to get it to the right ‘dropping consistency’.
For an added oomph I splashed in a little lemon juice to the tea and fruit also. I was worried that I might forget to buy a lemon to add it’s zest to the batter. (However I did remember and think the lemon zest really helps to lift the flavour of the loaf.)
After soaking the fruit in tea I strained the fruit and kept the remaining tea for future use.
I added the flour, spices, sugar, and egg to the fruit and mixed it all up along with the zest of one lemon.
Then I gradually added the tea to the mix until it became a smooth and shiny fruit studded paste that drops slowly, but surely from the bowl when poured into the tin. Also known as the right dropping consistency.
I had prepared a loaf tin by thoroughly greasing and lining it with greaseproof paper.
Then all it required was some 45-55 minutes in the oven at 170 degrees C. When it is risen nicely and has turned a lovely golden brown colour, it will be firm to the touch. Then ta da! A perfect Bara Brith is born!!
Dicky recommended eating it, once it has cooled, with lashings of butter and it is wonderful with a proper cup of tea. It’s a gently spicy sponge with plump and juicy tea soaked fruit. The wholemeal flour gives it a great texture too. What more could you need!
I enjoyed it for breakfast but it would be wonderful at any time of day. I must confess we also ate it with custard and bananas for pudding one night too. Delicious!!!
Thank you so much for sharing your recipe Dicky. This will definitely be one of my staple home bakes in the future. I think I might even bake some and freeze them for future use! Also if you would like to follow Dicky on twitter I recommend that you do, he’s a lovely guy, training to be a chef and always baking something amazing. You can find his profile here.
If you have an international recipe that you would like to suggest or send my way, please let me know. You can leave me a comment below if you like. Thanks you so much for reading and all your comments are gratefully received.
Things that I used
One 2lb loaf tin
Preheated oven at 170 degrees C, 350F or Mark 4
- 10 oz (or 285g) mixed dried fruit (I added a bit more than this for luck probably around 12oz/300g)
- 2/3 pint hot tea (no milk)
- 3 oz (or 85g) soft brown sugar
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- 12 oz (or 340g) self raising wholemeal flour
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice ( I am always rather on the generous side with spices so used 1tsp ginger, 1tsp cinnamon 1tsp allspice)
- 1 large egg ( I used a medium egg as it was all that I had in and it worked well)