Project Description

Irish Barmbrack or Tea Brack

Although Irish Barmbrack is sometimes made with yeast, this method is much easier and quicker and not less authentic. It is a traditional Halloween bread/cake and can contain all manner of items, ready to tell the future of the person finding it in their slice. A ring means an impending wedding.

Makes: 1 loaf, enough for 8
Preparation 10 minutes + overnight resting
Cooking 60 minutes


375 g mixed dried fruit (eg sultanas, raisins, cherries)
50 ml Irish whiskey
250 ml cold tea or enough to cover the fruit
butter, for greasing
1 ½ cups (225 g) plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
125 g soft light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
a ring, to place inside (optional)


  1. Cover the dried fruit in a bowl with the whiskey and cold tea and leave overnight. Strain, reserving the liquid.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (150’C fan-forced) Grease and line a 900g loaf tin.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and spice in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and mix to combine, adding some of the liquid from the mixed fruit to makea wet dough. You may not need to use all the liquid.
  4. Stir in the drained mixed fruit and mix well. Add the ring and stir through. Spoon the dough into the lined tin, place on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on wire rack. The flavours will develop over a couple of days if you can leave it that long.
  6. Serve with butter.

Lyndey’s Note: You could replace the plain flour and baking powder with self-raising flour.

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Photo Credits: The Irish Times