barmbrack tea cake recipe
barmbrack tea cake recipe

Irish Halloween Barmbrack Tea Cake

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October 14, 2014

This Irish barmbrack tea cake recipe is often baked for Hallowe'en. I call it a cake but it really falls between cake and bread. Previously we've bought one however this year we saw a recipe by Domini Kemp in a magazine and thought we'd give it a go.

Once cooled the barmbrack is best enjoyed cut in slices and buttered with a nice cup of tea.

  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • 25 mins

    3 hrs

    3 hrs 25 mins

  • Yields: 20 slices - or so!


500g sultanas

500g raisins

500g brown sugar

800ml cold tea

680g flour

3tsp baking powder

3tsp ground mixed spice

3 eggs


Make the tea - the stronger the better - allow to cool and mix with the sugar, sultanas and raisins. This should be left overnight to allow the fruit to soak up the tea - it won't soak it all up

Preheat the oven to 150C and line a 24cm cake tin (ideally spring-formed) with baking parchment

Sieve the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into the bowl containing the fruit and remaining tea and fold in

Beat the eggs and add to the mixture - mixing well. Add the coin and ring if you wish and mix these in.

Pour the mixture into the tin and place into the oven

Bake for about three hours

Allow to cool in the tin

As with most of our baking, the kids did pretty much everything apart from putting the cake into, and taking it out of, the oven. They love using the scales to measure out the ingredients and of course mixing the ingredients and 'cleaning' the mixing bowl.

Hallowe'en Tradition
Traditionally various items were placed into the mixture just before baking that were used for fortune telling. The items were a pea, stick, coin and ring and each had a different meaning when someone found them in a slice they had been served. The meanings were apparently as follows:

- Pea - the person wouldn't marry within a year
- Stick - the person would have an unhappy marriage
- Ring - the person would get married within a year
- Coin - the person would become rich

Quite what would happen if the same person got the pea and the ring I'm not sure!

We're not superstitious but, for a bit of fun, we put in a coin and metal ring we'd got in a shop-bought barmbrack a few years ago.



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