Tea Loaf Recipe: Irish Food

So, a while ago I shared some Irish Hallowe’en traditions with you.I mentioned barmbrack, a food we always eat this time of year.I searched online for a recipe, and came across this one from Donal Skehan. He’s a cool tv chef who’s on the rise.

Anyway, I made it and it’s lovely. BUT unfortunately it’s totally not a barmbrack. Brack looks like this:


What I baked was more like a tea loaf (another Irish fave though), and looked like this:

Even tastier than brack anyway, imo!

Tea loaf is much denser, fruitier, and cake-like.

(It’s my fault; I should have realised that it wasn’t a brack when there was no yeast in there.)


The recipe is for a beautiful tea loaf, which is a food that we can enjoy at all times of the year, especially when there are visitors in the house.

Slice of tea loaf + salted butter (obvs we only eat salted butter) + a cup of tea = happy visitors. 🙂

One more thing! Usually you’d put a ring into a brack. You wouldn’t put it into a tea loaf though, but because I thought I was making a brack I did (well I put in a coin as I didn’t have any cheap rings on hand). This is a fun tradition: Whoever gets the ring in their slice is next to be married, and if it’s a coin, whoever gets the coin will be rich!

Tea Loaf 

From Donal Skehan’s Recipe.


  • 375 g (13oz) packet of mixed dried fruit. This should include raisins, currants, sultanas and mixed peel, at a minimum. Glacé cherries are also an acceptable addition (not to my taste though). I used this. Make up your own if you can’t find something similar in your supermarket!
  • 50 ml (2fl oz) whiskey.
  • 250 ml (9fl oz) cold black tea. (Bonus points for using Irish tea like Barry’s or Lyon’s.)
  • Butter, for greasing.
  • 2 tsp baking powder.
  • 225 g (8oz) plain flour.
  • 125 g (4½oz) soft light brown sugar – or a mixture of half white sugar, half dark brown sugar if you don’t have any light brown sugar in the press, like me.
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 large egg
  • A ring, or a small coin. Don’t forget to wash this and wrap it in greaseproof paper!


  1. Place your mixed dried fruit (see tips re. this above) in a large enough bowl and pour the whiskey and cold tea on top. Leave this on your counter overnight so that the fruit soaks up the liquid and becomes super juicy and decadent.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F/Gas 3) and then grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
  3. Mix your flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice together in a large bowl.
  4. Make a little well in the centre (like a little hole) and throw in the egg. Mix it all together using a wooden spoon.
  5. Add some of the liquid from the mixed fruit and mix it through. The dough should be wet.
  6. Add your mixed fruit and stir through. This part is fun.
  7. Add the ring, which has been washed and covered in greaseproof paper. You can use a coin, as I did, if you don’t have any cheap rings lying around.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, approximately.
  9. Take your lovely loaf out of the oven and allow it to cool a little bit before removing it from the tin.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.
  11. Enjoy – it’s served best with salted butter slathered on top and a cup of tea on the side! ❤



6 thoughts on “Tea Loaf Recipe: Irish Food

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