Monday, 7 April 2014

Recipe: Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Just before Christmas I did my usual trick of buying lots of random ingredients to make something specific with (in this case, mixed peel) and then promptly running out of time to make said recipe (in this case, homemade mince for pies).
I had a vague idea of wanting to make a cake with it - but trawling through my books and googling didn't really throw up anything that inspired me, so I decided to adapt a standard tea loaf recipe instead. I'll be honest, usually this doesn't work and I end up swearing and threatening never to bake again, but I'm feeling so smug that this time it has, I'm feeling the need to share.

A note on tea loafs: apparently (at least, according to Wikipedia) tea loafs are unfashionable. This baffles me somewhat, although as a Yorkshire lass, tea runs through my veins. I think, though, that they might have gone out of fashion because they're simple and reminiscent of postwar austerity. The lack of butter, which would have made them easier to make in rationing times than your average cake, means that they're virtually fat free - so you can freely slather the butter on top instead.
Earl Grey Tea Loaf.

100g mixed peel
180g raisins and sultanas (I used a mixed bag which contained both, as well as cranberries)
1 tbsp lemon juice
250ml hot, very very strong, Earl Grey Tea
340g self raising flour
110g light brown sugar
2tsp mixed spice
1 egg

Soak the raisins and sultanas in the hot tea until the tea is cool, or for around about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C fan (or 160 non fan) and line a large loaf tin (it might stick to the greaseproof paper a bit, so line carefully!).

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and egg, add in the flour and mixed spice. Add in the tea slowly, beating well, but leaving the fruit behind for the moment so it doesn't get mashed up. Use electric whisks if you have them, it saves a lot of time and arm ache. It will be much more like a bread dough in texture than a cake batter once the liquid is all mixed in.

Add in the fruit and peel, and lemon juice, with a spoon rather than a whisk, to keep them whole.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden on top and a knitting needle comes out hot and clean. Take out of the tin to cool on a wire rack or breadboard. It keeps for several days in an airtight tin.


  1. Now, I've made Welsh tea loaf (Bara Brith) loads of times, and doing it with Earl Greg never occurred to me! This is on THE LIST.

  2. I bloody love tea loaf. I used to make one where all the measurements were in tea cups. I might need to look out the recipe for that when back at mum and dad's place. Or, you know, try this one.