National Trust Cookery: Bara Brith

For Christmas I was lucky enough to be bought The National Trust Traditional Cookbook, a collection of traditional british recipes, and whilst flipping through the pages, I came upon a recipe for Bara Brith; a cake made with tea. Given my love for tea, tea loaf and the National Trust, it seemed a natural choice for my next cookery blog.

Bara Brith means “spotted bread” and is a traditional Celtic recipe, which is popular in Wales. The recipe from the cookbook differs very slightly to the recipe for Tea Loaf, that my nan has been baking for the last year, the Bara Brith recipe having a slightly more sticky/sugary crust.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 225g/8oz Sultanas
  • 175ml/6floz Earl Grey Tea
  • 225g/8oz Wholemeal Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Mixed Spice
  • 175g/6oz Demerara Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 Eggs
Ingredients
Ingredients

Baking

1. The night before you plan to bake the Bara Brith, measure out the sultana’s or dried fruit and earl grey tea, then pour the tea into a bowl with the fruit and leave to soak overnight.

Sultanas & Earl Grey
Sultanas & Earl Grey

2. The next day, measure out the flour and mix in the baking powder, sugar and mixed spice. Add the sultana and earl grey mixture then mix well. Due to the amount of liquid, the mixture can look a little dry.

Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Spice, Sultanas and Earl Grey
Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Spice, Sultanas and Earl Grey

3. Beat the two eggs together then slowly pour the eggs mixture in with the other ingredients, then mix together thoroughly. The eggs give the mixture the extra liquid to mix the ingredients together, though after a while, stirring becomes a little difficult.

Mixed Ingredients
Mixed Ingredients

4. Spoon the mixture into a bread tin

Ready to Bake
Ready to Bake

5. Now, bake the Bara Brith in the oven. The recipe says to bake for approximately one hour at 180 degrees centigrade, gas mark 4. Having recently moved into my apartment in Cardiff and going from a gas cooker to an electric, fan assisted electric no less, I found that I had to bake the Bara Brith on 150 degrees for one and a half to two hours, to ensure it is cooked throughout, but not burnt.

After removing the Bara Brith from the oven, allow it to cool in the tin before serving.

Fresh out of the oven
Fresh out of the oven
Bara Brith
Bara Brith

After having the first slice with a cup of tea whilst the cake was still warm, I thought it was a good effort, I then served it to a friend who said “This is bloody lovely Bara Brith” – hooray!

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