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)
Fascinating to soak fruit in tea — I’ve never done that. Your loaf looks good though — especially with butter, as recommended.
Thanks Sharyn! I love tea soaked dry fruit. I sometime use Earl Grey too for an added flavour. I did hope that this recipe would be one that you would enjoy. Please let me know if you try it some day
Lovely! I really like things that are quite healthy but taste delicious and yours looks gorgeous! Bara Brith is in Mary Berry’s 100 Cakes and Bakes so I may get to make it with Weekly Bake Off but I think I’ll have a go at yours too. 🙂
Thank you! it’s such a yummy bake I definitely recommend it. it almost feels virtuous with the wholemeal flour and fruit! I’d be really interested to see Mary’s recipe too to see if she does anything differently? I hope you do get to bake it with the Weekly bake off! 🙂
Ooooo this looks good! I always look at Bara Brith and think I’d like to make it but it’s never quite gotten to the top of the list! Perhaps I will make it now, I really like cakes where the fruit has been soaked in tea! 🙂
Thank you Laura! I do love tea soaked fruit cakes. There’s just something extra special about them, extra tasty! I definitely recommend it. And it’s really quick to make!! No whisking required 🙂 please let me know how you get on if you do try it x
Thanks for sharing the recipe. Now I learned what is a speckled cake 🙂 Dried fruits, soaked in strong black tea overnight sounds lovely. I bet the tea tasted delicious after that!
ooh I haven’t heard of speckled cake before. Is that another name for tea loaf? It is a really love bake. I definitely recommend it!! Thanks so much for reading 😀
This looks good – my hubby likes malt loaf is this a similar type of thing – yes I know I am so uneducated in the world of tea loafs! I soak my toffee pudding in green tea and I wonder if this would work well on this – a fedw more antioxidants never heart! Thanks Lauren I am going to have to try this out. I may get a happy hubby then!
ooh I love the sound of green tea soaked toffee pudding! Have you posted about this? If so I will have to take a look. Bara Brith is a little like malt loaf not quite as sticky as soreen loaf in the shops. I hope your hubby likes it,please let me know if you do try it 🙂
I will certainly let you know! Yes the sticky toffee layer cake (which is the same as baking the pudding) – the dates in the recipe are soaked in green tea which gives it a great flavour. You don’t need to make all the layers just divide quantities by 3 and use a 20cm tin.
mmmm that sounds divine. I’ve mmade mini sticky toffee puds before but never thought to soak the dates in green tea. Fabulous idea. I will definitely try that next time. I have made a green tea drizzle cake before which I actually loved too and felt very virtuous whilst devouring it. I look forward to hearing about your Bara Brith! 🙂 x
What a beautiful loaf cake with such delicious ingredients 😀
Thanks my friend for sharing!
Choc Chip Uru
Thank you so much! Another sweet breakfast food 🙂
What a beautiful loaf. I can understand how good this must be for a snack as well as dessert. I love how you soaked the fruit in black tea – that must give the loaf a wonderful flavour making this perfect for morning or afternoon tea xx
Thank you. The black tea does enhance the flavour of the loaf and makes sure it’s lovely and juicy too. 🙂 I definitely recommend it if you enjoy fruit cakes x x
Tea makes such a change to baked goods, doesn’t it? I love the gentle sub-taste it adds, and this tea loaf sounds wonderful!
It really does. I love how it adds additional moisture to a cake which helps to balance out the wholemeal flour in this loaf. Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment too.
I have just had a go at this and can report that it’s absolutely delicious!! I love the fact that it’s pretty healthy – it has a lot less sugar than some recipes for Bara Brith and uses wholemeal flour 🙂