Bara Brith – easy recipe

Bara Brith

Hello dear reader,

Did you watch the Great British Bake Off? I had been rooting for the lovely Beca from the very start but unfortunately she was put out in the semi-finals.  In an earlier round the challenge was to make a yeasted tea loaf.  Since Beca is from Wales, she immediately knew she just had to make Bara Brith which is a traditional Welsh teacake.  Beca used her grandmother’s original recipe, which you can find here, but modernised it up a little by replacing some of the traditional dried fruit with dried cranberries.

Beca
photo sourced from walesonline.co.uk

The monthly bake club I attend was the same week of Beca’s departure from the competition, so I decided to make Bara Brith in her honour.  Some quick Googling told me that the traditional recipe using yeast is now rarely used by home bakers, who often go for the quicker route of making a cake-based teacake. I took the elements I particularly liked from a few different recipes and came up with my own easy take on Bara Brith…

1) Weight out 450g dried fruit.
You can use whatever mix you like – I used dried cranberries, sultanas & chopped dates as this is what I had in the cupboard.  The chopped dates look a little odd here as they are packed with rice flour to stop them sticking together!

Dried fruit

2) Place the fruit in a bowl.  Make up 250ml tea, using two teabags.  Pour over the dried fruit and leave to soak over night.

soak in tea

3) Weight out 75g nuts and roughy chop.  I used walnuts as this is what I had.

Walnuts

Chopped walnuts

4) Add the chopped nuts to the soaked fruit, stir well & leave the nuts to soak whilst prep other ingredients.

fruit and nuts steeped in tea

5) Preheat the oven to moderately slow (160C, 320F, Gas Mark 3).  Mix 450g self-raising flour, 2 teaspoons mixed spice and 150g muscavado sugar.  Add the soaked fruit and nuts, along with one egg and the juice of one orange.  Mix well.

6) Pour into a 1.2 litre/2lb silicone loaf tin (or a greased and lined metal loaf tin) and bake for about 1¾ hours, until golden and a skewer inserted in centre comes out cleanly.  Leave to cool for 20 minutes, remove from tin and glaze.

7) To make the glaze, boil together 50g white sugar and 50ml water until starts to thicken.  Pour over the Bara Brith and leave to cool.

Bara Brith

I tweeted Beca to let her know I was making Bara Brith in her honour to take to bake club. She very kindly tweeted back to say we should eat it with proper salted butter.  Immediately I thought of the Cornish butter that Rodda’s had sent me. How perfect I tweeted back – Welsh tea cake made by someone from Northern Ireland, taken to a Scottish bake club and served with English butter.  A great combination of Britishness!

Bara Brith sliced

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I am entering my Bara Brith into a few blog challenges.  First up is Tea Time Treats run by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked.  Kate is hosting this month and the theme is bread – any sweet breads and yeast breads – perfect!

[Edit: Turns out I was a little late with my entry for October’s Tea Time Treats.  However Karen has serendipitously chosen dried fruits as the November theme, so I am entering my Bara Brith into November Tea Time Treats instead. Nice!]

Tea time treats

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An interesting blogger challenge that I recently discovered is called “One ingredient” and is run by Nazima at Franglais Kitchen and Laura at How to Cook Good Food, with Laura hosting this month. Each month they select one ingredient which must be used in the recipe.  Laura is an ex-chef and Nazima is married to an ex-chef, so I am a little nervous entering this one!  However the one ingredient theme this month is walnuts, so it seems meant to be!

one-ingredient-walnut logo

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Finally, since I made my Bara Brith from scratch, I am also entering it in the Made with Love Mondays challenge run by Mark at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv.

Made with Love Mondays

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So do tell dear reader, if you were baking Bara Brith which dried fruits would you use and would you choose walnuts or something else?

Vohn

x

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. looks so delicious Vohn. I have not tried making it but I have eaten it and it is perfect for a teatime treat.

    1. Vohn says:

      Thanks Nazima. It is very easy to make & would adapt well to any combination of dried fruits and nuts! Vohn x

  2. This sounds marvelous, Vohn – I’m a big fan of cranberries and walnuts so I probably shouldn’t change much of anything about the recipe 😉

  3. What a perfect loaf of barra brith, I am sure Beca would be proud of you! I love your interpretation and think it looks like a perfect slice to enjoy with lots of good butter on top. Thanks so much for entering One ingredient and I have no idea why you are nervous of the fact I was chef, I like to see myself as more of a cook. Far less scary!

    1. Vohn says:

      Thanks Laura! I guess my nervousness was just my usual lack of self-confidence. Probably didn’t help that I’d just read Martha’s rant about “who are these food bloggers and what makes them think they can develop recipes” rubbish! Glad you liked it! Vohn x

  4. Louisa Foti says:

    Hi Vohn, I recently made and blogged my Granny’s recipe for Bara Brith, she was actually a Yorkshire lady but lived quite a bit of her life in Wales. It too is cake based rather than yeasted, and is such a cinch to make. Uses traditional mixed fruits but I’m reckoning a cranberry and walnut addition would give a lovely modern twist. http://www.eatyourveg.co.uk/recipes/bara-brith/

    1. Vohn says:

      Thanks for popping by Louisa. You are so lucky to have your granny’s recipes. My granny made everything from memory, never wrote anything down and my mum can’t remember the details, so all my granny’s lovely ideas are lost in time! I wish I’d been old enough to write them all down before she forgot everything! Vohn x

  5. That looks delicious. I have a similar recipe I make quite often but doesn’t have nuts, I’m going to try adding walnuts next time. Like the idea of salted butter!!

    1. Vohn says:

      Thanks Jacqui! I love nuts in teacakes and tend to always chuck a few in, even if the recipe doesn’t call for them! Vohn x

  6. karen278 says:

    FABULOUS Vohn! I am a BIG lover of all types of fruit cakes and Bara Brith is a favourite too! Karen

    1. Vohn says:

      Thanks Karen! I’d never heard of it before GBBO but quite similar to an Irish Barmbrack which I know well! Vohn x

  7. Beth Young says:

    Looks yummy! Just the kind of thing I fancy at this time of year! Maybe with some salt butter on too!

    1. Vohn says:

      Thanks Beth! Yes, I go through phases of really liking it too – just seems to go with the season somehow. Vohn x

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