Julie’s Bara Brith is easy to make and tastes delicious, making it a perfect recipe to share on Recipes Made Easy. And what perfect timing to share this traditional Welsh cake as it’s St. David’s (patron saint of Wales) day on 1st March. So sit back, relax, have a cup of tea and read all about Julie’s Bara Brith.
This is my fourth visit to a friend’s kitchen to shoot for my Friends in the Kitchen series of posts. It is, however, tinged with a little sadness. After 25 years in London, Julie moved back to Wales this weekend to start a new job on Wednesday. I first met Julie a few years back when she joined our local dinner party club. Little Welsh Julie made up for what she lacked in stature with her bubbly personality and her love of all things sparkly. We are surely going to miss her at our future get togethers.
Julie’s Bara Brith
Being the lovely sociable girl that she is she managed to find time and space between packing boxes for me to pop along while she made a loaf of Bara Brith. The recipe she used was based on this recipe from the Visit Wales website. She explained to me how, while the original Bara Brith recipe was made with yeast, this unyeasted version is used by many as it is far simpler to make. “I know my aunty would never have bothered with yeast” she told me. She also explained to me that when growing up she always remembered that most Welsh households would have a Bara Brith in the fridge ready just in case anyone came to call. Which they usually did. It would be considered rude not to offer a cup of tea and something to go with it.
Easy to make
It really didn’t take long to make up the cake. The fruit needs to be soaked overnight in tea, which Julie had done the night before. Then it was just a case of stirring in the flour, mixed spice, sugar and eggs. Spoon the mixture into a loaf tin, and into the oven to bake for about 1 hour. Time for a cup of tea!
“Sorry” she says. “I haven’t got any cake to eat. You will have to wait” she laughs.
And so we do, it’s not that long before some delicious aromas are coming from the oven.
Despite being in the middle of packing, Julie managed to find some pretty cups and saucers and plates to serve the Bara Brith. We put it out on the balcony to speed up the cooling process and, as it was reasonably nice day, we decided to take the final pictures there. No chance of a removal box sneaking into the picture that way.
Bara brith will keep well
Bara Brith should be stored for two days for the flavours to mature. There was no chance that was going to happen. As soon as it was cold enough, we sliced it and I can assure you it tastes pretty darn good while still slightly warm, as well as a couple of days later (I took some home with me just to make sure. It’s important to do proper research!). Apparently you can keep it for up to 7 days but I wouldn’t know as the piece I took home barely lasted the two days, it was so good. We did follow the Welsh tradition of serving it spread with plenty of butter – I liked it with and without butter. Just saying Julie!
Julie's Bara Brith
Yield 10 slices
Bara Brith – Speckled Bread. A simple and popular Welsh cake. easy to make and keeps well. If you can resist eating it that is! Remember to soak the fruit the night before.
- 400g/14oz (~2½ cups) mixed dried fruit eg. currants, sultanas and raisins
- 300ml/½ pint (1¼ cups) strong hot black tea
- 250g/9oz (~2 cups) self-raising flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 100g/4oz (~½ cup) demerara sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
butter, to serve
- Place the dried fruit in a large mixing bowl and pour in the tea. Stir to combine and leave to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180℃ (160℃ fan)/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
- Sift the flour and spice into the bowl and add the sugar. Add the eggs, then stir until well blended.
- Spoon into the prepared tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool on the rack for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Traditionally, once cooled the cake is wrapped and stored in a cool place for 2 days to mature. although it is also good eaten straight away It will keep for up to a week. Serve spread with butter
Serving Size 1 slice (without butter)
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 2 g
Sodium 88 mg
Total Carbohydrates 56 g
Sugars 37 g
Protein 4 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.