An Irish Tea Brack

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I mentioned the delicious Soda bread that we got at The White Cottages on a recent trip to Skerries Co. Dublin.

Joe also gave me the recipe for his famous Tea Brack, and I made a Christmas version a couple of years ago!

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 away one, and keeping the other!

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All wrapped up, ready for giving!


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  Irish Tea Brack (9)
  • 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 tins with melted butter. Or if you’re bone idle like me, a ready-made, preferably reusable, 1lb tin liner!

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  • Give the soaked fruit a stir
  • Add the egg, and mix in lightly. I do all this by hand – it’s really easy.
  • Add half the flour and fold in.

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  • Add the rest of the flour and fold in. Make sure it’s all well mixed through.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the tins.

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  • 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.

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  • 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!’

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I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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