Sugar-crusted bara brith

Sugar-crusted bara brith

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(22 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hr - 1 hr, 15 mins Plus overnight soaking


Serves 12
Bara brith (literally 'speckled bread') is a tea-time classic, and it seems that almost every Welsh town and every family has their own recipe

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal397
  • fat9g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs79g
  • sugars50g
  • fibre2g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.58g
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  • 400g/14oz luxury mixed fruit
  • 75g pack dried cranberries


    A tart, ruby-red coloured berry which grows wild on shrubs throughout northern Europe and North…

  • mug hot strong black tea
  • 100g butter, plus extra for greasing



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 2 heaped tbsp orange marmalade
  • 2 eggs, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 450g self-raising flour - try a mix of wholemeal and white
  • 175g light soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground ginger



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 4 tbsp milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 50g crushed sugar cubes or granulated sugar, to decorate



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…


  1. Mix together the dried fruit and cranberries in a large bowl, then pour the hot tea over. Cover with cling film and leave to soak overnight.

  2. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line the bottom of a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking parchment. Melt butter and marmalade together in a pan. Leave to cool for 5 mins, then beat in the eggs. Drain any excess tea from the fruit. Mix the flour, sugar and spices together, then stir in the fruit, butter mix and milk until evenly combined. The batter should softly drop from the spoon – add more milk if needed.

  3. Spoon into the tin and level the top. Sprinkle with the crushed sugar and bake for 1-1¼ hrs until dark golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil if it starts to over-colour before the middle is cooked. Leave to cool completely in the tin and serve sliced.

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Comments (29)

Ceginsian's picture

I am a welsh cook and foodie to the core, and apart from the cranberries the receipe is VERY typical of bara brith. Though 'bara' is welsh for bread, most bara brith recipes I have come across do not have yeast! My mum is a prolific bara brith maker, so much so, in my 40s I have never had to make it before. I asked her for the recipe (as we were doing a welsh tea fundraiser). She had 4 recipes - all 4 different and none with yeast !. Oh - and NO instructions! Hence my recipe googling. I doubled the quantity, ditched the cranberries and used more dried raisins, and I used a pot of tea. Half light and half dark brown soft sugar. DO NOT drain the tea (and reduce the milk if necessary), and I think sprinkling demerera on top gives a nicer finish. It made 5 small loaves and without boasting too much - they look amaaaazing, and they were deeeee-lish ..... bendigedig! Even mam "The Bara Brith Queen" was impressed ! My mum suggested wrapping in cling film for 2 days - as it improves, and has a 'nice sheen' - who knew?

KochinVeronica's picture

Really good!

jandbs81's picture

This would be a traditional Welsh Tea Loaf without the Cranberries. I have baked this cake with great success. But I did however include 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate soda. I also replaced the 175g soft brown sugar with 175g coconom coconut sugar. This is a personal preference as this sugar has a low GI index. The taste and texture improve, and should be stored in an airtight container.

susib1's picture

Didn't really work for me. Not really enough for 2 tins but too much for 1. Followed recipe to the letter but came out quite dry and crumbly, more like Mr killings manor house cake than anything. Good flavour but def won't be using this recipe again.

bwydolwen's picture

I agree with Mandinga. Probably a very tasty cake, but it is not traditional Bara Brith. The clue is in the name 'bara' = bread, so needs yeast. Fruit loaves and tea bread, regularly called 'bara brith' is not proper Bara Brith unless it contains yeast, and slices like a small loaf of bread, which is then buttered.

jobarley's picture

I've made this a couple of times & it's huge, got a silicone loaf tin which bows at the sides & makes for a funny shaped cake but no overflow! Took a good hour and a half to cook though. Made it the other day for my bf to take on a day out & apparently it went down a treat. I think a bit less wholemeal flour, perhaps a 3rd works best.

hamish1949's picture

Lovely recipe and so easy. Both my children and husband who hate fruit cake love this and ask for it in their lunchboxes.

penny_baker's picture

Haha kerryblue - it's one 's' and 2 'p's! Anyway, tried this recipe last week, with the benefit of having read everyone else's comments. I only had white flour (though it was organic), so didn't have a mix as the recipe suggests. I bought dried cranberries, and used other fried fruit already in the cupboard - which turned out to be 98% raisins, 2% sultanas. Also didn't want to buy white sugar cubes we wouldn't have any other use for, so sprinkled demerara sugar on the top. I wasn't sure what size my larger loaf tin is, so actually split the mix between that and a smaller one. The small one cooked in the specified cooking time, but the larger one needed an extra 20 minutes. The results - fantastic, and very much enjoyed by all of us, not too crumbly at all, and just the right amount of moistness. Will definitely make again.

helenburchell's picture

Sorry but this was a mega-dissapointment (could never spell that word, is it 2 s's or 2 p's ?) a much better recipe is Mary Berry's teabread or bara brith, moist, firm, easy to slice and exactly as it should be. One thing for sure though, don't have a righteous/healthy moment and do a mix with wholemeal flour, it's too dry and too crumbly, tastes like a supermarket out of date by 6 months, value 99p affair that even the birds would reject.

gervais's picture

This isabsolutely wonderful. So easy to make and looks smells an dtastes delicious. I had no problem with my 2lb loaf tin.I think others may not be using the correct tin making another one for my neighbour

marywilliams's picture

Have just made this for the first time. I think it is delicious but it is very dense with fruit, seems slightly more moist than it perhaps should be, and I even wondered if my dubious oven is partly at fault. Did have to add more milk to mix it. Mine (and I'm not saying your recipe) reminded me of my mother's cakes when something went slightly wrong, but we all loved them anyway and served them as pudding, with custard!! Buttering it seems luxurious and slightly overkill. It did fit in my 2lb. loaf tin, and I shall make it again. Maybe it will come out more like a BBC Good Food cake second time round!!

carihannah's picture

Wonderful , have now made this countless times as requests have been flowing in!!

rich1e's picture

Have made this a few times now and it works a treat everytime. Has been well received by family and friends alike and have even had requests for loaves that can be frozen for future use. To save time and expense I admitted where the recipe had come from and have now converted a few more people to the pleasures of the BBC Good Food website.

bethocallaghan's picture

Took about 1hr 30mins, but turned out very well - OH loves it.

bettyb's picture

This is a favourite as it lasts so well and is easy to make. I find I need two tins for the quantities given but it means I can freeze one. I put demerara sugar on top and it is just as nice.

mandinga's picture

Definitely more than double the amount that could be contained in a 2lb loaf tin and the verdict here in north west Wales is that it's a nice enough fruit cake but it is NOT Bara Brith!

granny30's picture

I have just made this as an entry for our local cooking and agriculture show but alas was not able to submit it as the mixture is way to much for a 2lb tin as specified in the recipe and has erupted all over the sides of the tin as it was cooking. What a waste! It seemed too much when I was filling the tin with mixture, and yet was not enough for 2 tins. The quantities need to be adjusted before anyone else wastes expensive ingredients on it. Smells good though.

alicemcpalace's picture

Great recipe- no probs with the tin but perhaps i have a slightly larger one? I upped the spices a little and js used self-raising and it was delicious. yum yum yum.

strats's picture

I had no cranberrys so just add extra mixed fruit also no ground ginger so I substituted it with a good splash of ginger wine to the soaking liquid.The other thing I found was that 4tbsp milk made the mix very dry I ended up adding nearer 12tbsp .Like other contributors the mix was too much for a 2lb tin, may be better to split between two tins.Everybody that has tried it has said that it was wonderful though so thanks for the recipe

foodlovers49's picture

Great recipe! Keeps for ages in foil in an airtight box. There is too much mixture for 1 loaf so the second time I added a little more fruit and made 2 good sized loaves. I have tried it using a mixture of wholmeal and white too but prefer the lighter texture using just white flour.


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Tips (1)

the goughies's picture

I used chopped dried apricots instead of cranberries and boiled all fruit up with the tea and good glug of rum so that I didn't have to soak overnight and 2 tbs malt instead of milk - the result was fabulous - I am using this as a base for my Xmas cake