I think I get most of my cravings and inspirations from Twitter, along with recommendations for restaurants. Making Barm Brack was inspired by Katherine (@HR_Katherine on Twitter) who tweeted about having a slice of this traditional Irish cakey bread slathered in butter one day.
I’ve had a large jar of dried fruit languishing in my kitchen for a while, since I vastly overestimated how much I’d need of it for making Hot Cross Buns, and I had all the other ingredients, so it was fate!
This cake is dead easy to make and you’ll have most of the ingredients in your cupboard. It requires only a tiny bit of planning, soaking the fruit in tea for at least 8 hours. I did this whilst making my morning cup of tea and it took only a few minutes to pull together. When I got home from work I added dry ingredients to a bowl along with an egg, and then stirred in the dried fruit. It cooked in the oven whilst I prepared dinner, and was ready to eat with a cup of tea later that evening, perfect.
And it contains no butter or oil, so you can pretend it is healthy.
You are meant to leave it for 1-2 days to sit but I have no patience and we ate it about an hour after it came out of the oven. I think it gets richer as the days go on, and you are supposed to eat it like bread, with a little butter. I’ve so far eaten it as more of a cake, but I’ll definitely be trying it with butter with my cup of tea tomorrow morning.
I had kindly been given a small jar of chai masala from Jacob’s Jams and Spices which I used in place of mixed spice, which worked really well and the spices didn’t get lost. I’ll be making actual masala chai from this soon, and posting up a review of it and their Kashmiri Blush Tea.
Adapted from this recipe shared by Katherine.
Makes 1 900g loaf
375g dried fruit
50ml of whisky
250ml of strongly brewed tea (I steeped two black teabags for 2 minutes extra flavour)
butter, for greasing
2 tsp baking powder
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp of mixed spice or chai masala
A ring to place inside – optional but fun! I should have done this, being a jeweller…
1. Put the mixed fruit in a bowl and then pour over the tea and whisky. Allow to soak for 8 hours or overnight
2. Preheat your oven to 170c / gas mark 3. Grease and line a loaf tin.
3. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and spices together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in the egg.
4. Add in the liquid from your fruit mixture to help you combine the egg with the mixture. Once combined, it should be a fairly wet mix, if it isn’t add a little hot water.
6. Mix in the fruit and pour into your loaf tin. Bake for 1 hour on the middle shelf of your oven.
Leave to cool before eating (for as long as you can manage!). Store in an airtight container or wrapped in cling film. This cake bread makes an excellent
breakfast afternoon snack with a nice cup of tea.