Yeast-free Irish Barmbrack tea cake. Dried fruit & spices make it extra delicious! This traditional Irish cake is a perfect afternoon treat!
Barmbrack (bairín breac in Irish) or Barnbrack can be found in every single shop in Ireland around Halloween. While you can make it at home into any shape you like, Irish barmbrack is usually sold in flattened rounds. This great sweet treat is widely enjoyed toasted and topped with butter. Oh, and don’t forget a cup of tea!
You know what? I can’t believe that I never made Irish barmbrack tea cake while living in Ireland. Shame on me! So I figured it had to change and here it is: Irish Barmbrack Tea cake! A very simple version of a traditional Irish cake!
Actually it is hard to say whether it is a cake or bread. I’ve heard people calling it bread, cake, Irish fruit cake or a tea cake. First I thought that it’s called tea cake because it is mostly enjoyed with a cup of tea! Haha. Then I heard that it is because you use tea as one of the ingredients. So there! That’s why it is called a tea cake. I suppose that the easiest way of calling this sweet bread is Irish Barmbrack or simply a barmbrack. I think the coolest name of all of them is Irish tea brack! What do you think? I like it most.
Watch the video for this recipe:
Irish Barmbrack tea cake and fortune telling
Now the fun part about barmbrack was that according to Irish tradition each loaf contained various objects baked into the bread. Each object had a certain meaning (e.g. if a person found a pea in the bread they would not marry that year. A coin represented good fortune, etc.).
Nowadays you might find a ring in each barmbrack, if you were lucky, that is. Finding a ring meant getting married within a year!
So if you ever find yourself in Ireland around Halloween and buy the barmbrack, be sure to look for the ring!
How to make Irish barmbrack:
I have seen many recipes for this deliciousness but wasn’t sure which way to go. Some recipes call for yeast (I believe those are the old fashioned Irish recipes) and some don’t. So I chose not to use yeast. I know some of you are not comfortable working with yeast and that is why I went for this Irish tea brack recipe. It is simple and pretty straight-forward which I like!
This recipe was adapted from the FOOD website. I liked the fact that there is no yeast in it as I was looking for a pretty quick barmbrack recipe. And guess what? I got it! An easy and yummy recipe! Yay!
For this Irish barmbrack tea cake recipe you need only 10 minutes of your time for the prep and about an hour in the oven! I know the baking time is quite long but it is passive time during which you don’t need to do anything. Just set an alarm and check if it’s ready 60 minutes later! During this time you are totally free! Free to do anything you want to or need to!
Irish barmbrack tea cake recipe preparation:
Divide the preparation into 2 days.
Day 1: A pretty simple step: Make a strong cup of tea. Let it cool down. Pour it over raisins. Keep in your fridge overnight.
Day 2: Another simple step: In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients. Don’t forget to add the raisins and tea as well! Mix well. Pour into a loaf tin and bake!
It can’t get any simpler than this! And guess what? It is worth waiting the 60 long minutes because you will be rewarded with a perfect barmbrack loaf!
By the way, feel free to mix raisins with other dried fruit. I used raisins to which I added a handful of mixed dried berries simply because they needed to be used.
10 minPrep Time
60 minCook Time
1 hr, 10 Total Time
- 10.5oz (300g) Plain Flour
- 10.14fl oz (300ml) Cold Strong Tea
- 8.8oz (250g) Raisins
- 5.3oz (150g) Brown Sugar
- 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 Medium Egg
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- Throw the raisins in a bowl and pour the tea over. Place the bowl in the fridge and let the raisins soak overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/356F.
- Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl including the raisins & tea (Note: some raisins may absorb more liquid than others so you might end needing to add more tea. To be ready, have some extra cold tea ready on hand).
- Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour the mixture over.
- Transfer in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until baked throughout.
- Enjoy with butter and/or jam as well as a cup of your favorite tea/coffee!
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