SK: Bara Brith (Fruit Loaf)

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Bara Brith is one of the national dishes of my country. I make it a lot because it is very easy and it is very simple to turn it into a vegan friendly cake recipe. 

You will need:

A loaf tin
2 Bowls (one large, one medium sized)
A wooden spoon
A large mug
Kitchen Scales
A cooling rack (the wire out of your grill pan will do at a pinch)
A sharp knife


12 ounces Self Raising Flour (I use white, but you can use wholemeal)
10 ounces Mixed Dried Fruit
A tea bag and hot water
3 ounces of soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon of mixed sweet spice*
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon*
Half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg*
A small squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1 egg (or 1 egg’s worth of substitute)

1) Measure out your 10 ounces of dried fruit into the medium bowl. Make a mug of black tea in your mug and brew it until it is strong and dark, then remove the teabag and pour it over the fruit until it is covered. Top the liquid up from the kettle if you need to. 

This needs to stand for several hours, overnight preferably, but if you are doing your baking in the evening, you can set it to stew in the morning and leave it for the day. For best results, leave it to stand at room temperature, out of reach of pets or children. 

2) Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C and line your loaf tin. There are special loaf cake cases that you can buy now which make this whole think MUCH easier!

3) Measure out 10 oz of flour into your large bowl and add 3 oz of sugar. Add the dry spices and stir together

* If you are building up your spice collection, nutmeg and cinnamon are amongst the earliest you should pick up – not only are they great for baking, but they are fantastic for making stir-frys. If you don’t have them yet, just use two teaspoons of mixed sweet spice instead. 

4) Strain the fruit using a colander, but keep the tea juices! Add the fruit to the dry mixture, with a squirt of lemon juice if you wish, and stir in thoroughly until all of the fruit is coated.

5) Crack your egg into the centre of the mixture and stir in from the middle, drawing the flour mix into the centre. 

6) Once the egg is stirred in, add the juices from your fruit a little at a time, pouring into the centre and drawing the mix in from the edges of the bowl. Use all of the liquid up and stir together thoroughly. You should have a sloppy mixture the colour of milky tea (the more spice you use, the stronger the colour will be)

7) Place the mixture carefully into the tin and then place the tin in your oven on the top shelf. 

The cake should take roughly an hour to cook. Once it is cooked it should be well risen, firm to the touch and if you insert a clean knife into the middle, you should be able to pull out the blade without any sticky mixture on it. If the middle is still sticky, clean your blade and back into the oven with it for another 10 minutes. Continue checking regularly until cooked through.

Don’t worry if it cracks on the top, mine tend to look a bit like this when I take them out.  

8) Remove the cake from the oven and tip it out onto the cooling rack. Remember to keep it out of the way of pets and small children. If you need to protect it, you can wrap it into a clean tea towel. 

Store the cake in an airtight tin and eat in slices. You can butter them if you wish, but I actually find the cake rich and juicy enough without that. 

Check back through the recipe and you will notice that this is a completely fat free cake – no butter, no marge, no baking block. Now that’s something to boast about to your friends! 

We’ve been known to have this for snacks, as part of a packed lunch and even for breakfast on hectic days – it tastes fantastic with that good old British classic, a nice cup of tea 🙂 

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