I’m a bit of a melting pot. Half English, Half Welsh but with German influences from the 3 years I spent living there; so for all the Welsh people out there, an albeit belated, Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus…or Happy Saint David’s Day for you non-Welsh speakers. To celebrate I made Bara Brith and lobscowse (a Welsh version of Scouse).
Bara Brith, translated literally, means speckled bread and is a traditional cake in Wales. There are essentially two types of Bara Brith. A version made with yeast, or a longer lasting version made with self-raising flour. I opted for the self-raising flour version as there is only 2 of us to eat it and wanted it to last.
After some searching around I came across an authentic sounding recipe. Few problems, it wasn’t particularly well written and the recipe stated a 1lb loaf tin. No way was all the cake mix going to fit so used my baking experience and put it in a 2lb loaf tin instead. I’m glad I did as it filled a 2lb tin perfectly.
I only have feint memories of Bara Brith so wasn’t totally sure what it was meant to taste like, but I think I certainly got close with this cake. It was a surprisingly delicious cake, with a pleasant marmalade taste throughout the slice. The texture was also just right, perfect for lunchboxes. Not bad considering I was winging it towards the end of the recipe! It looks similar to my banana bread that I made last week, but it tastes very much different.
Makes a 2lb loaf
450g mixed fruit
300ml strong tea
450g self-raising flour
2 tbsp marmalade
1 tsp mixed spice
6 tbsp muscovado sugar
honey, for glazing
1) Soak the fruit in the tea overnight. Don’t drain!
2) Preheat oven to 170oc and line a 2lb loaf tin. In a large bowl mix together the tea soaked fruit, the remaining tea, flour, marmalade, egg, mixed spice and sugar. Pour into the tin and bake for 1.5 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean. If the top is browning too much, cover with foil.
3) Once cake is baked, allow to sit for 5 min before removing from the tin, then brush with the honey to get a shiny glaze. Allow to cook fully before slicing.