I mentioned the delicious Soda bread that we got at The White Cottages on a recent trip to Skerries Co. Dublin. http://eatingforireland.com/recipe/the-white-cottages-soda-bread/
Joe also gave me the recipe for his famous Tea Brack, and now I’ve made a Christmas version!
You’re right, I’m completely incapable of leaving well alone…but! – you have to try this! Thanks again to Joe for his advice about using 1lb Loaf tins – they make two of these cakes, which are absolutely perfect for giving as presents, or as part of a festive hamper.
You’d better try a slice for yourself first though – purely for research, naturally..
Come on, let’s get started – you are definitely going to thank me for this one!
- 2 x 1lb Loaf tins, or 1 2-pound one, lightly greased with melted butter.
- A medium-sized bowl
- A sieve
- a flat-bladed knife
- A cooling rack *see NOTES*
- 350g mixed dried fruit – I used both ‘Gem’ Luxury brand, and also – separately – ‘Crazy Jack’s’ Organic mixed fruit. I’m going to leave it up to you.
- 300mls hot tea – or 270mls of hot tea, and 30mls of Whiskey!
- 50g light brown sugar
- Finely grated zest of a large Orange
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
The next day…
- 1 large egg
- 225g Self-raising flour with 1/4 teaspoon of Allspice *see NOTES* and 1 level teaspoon of Mixed spice sifted in.
- Weigh the fruit into the bowl.
- Add the sugar, and then the hot tea.
- Add the orange zest
- Add the ground cloves
- Mix well, then cover and soak for at least 12 hours
The next day:
- Heat the oven to 180 Fan
- Paint the baking tin(s) with melted butter.
- Give the soaked fruit a stir
- Add the egg, and mix in lightly.
- Add half the flour and fold in.
- Add the rest of the flour and fold in. Make sure it’s all well mixed through.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the tins.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 180Fan, then reduce the heat to 160Fan and give it 20 more minutes.
- Using a cake tester or skewer, if it comes out cleanly, it’s done.
- * for the 2-pound cake – bake at 180 for 15 minutes, then at 160 for 45 minutes. Test after that – it will probably need an further 15 minutes.
- Turn out of the tins immediately, and put on a well-ventilated cooling rack.
- I’ve added some Whiskey to the tea after an outcry from my reading public 😉 Leave it out if you prefer – the cakes tastes fantastic anyway!
- Allspice is different from Mixed Spice, so if you don’t have it, that’s ok. It’s quite strong, so don’t be tempted to use more than 1/4 teaspoon.
- My ground Cloves might not have been as fresh as it could have been, so treat them gingerly too..
- As regards the cooling rack – when you take the cakes from their tins, the top is beautifully crusty, but the bottoms are rather soft and even slightly damp, hence the need for the rack to be raised up.
- As always, try to turn the tins around half-way through the cooking time to ensure an even bake.
- As Joe says – ‘Enjoy this with lots of butter!’