Irish inspired Tea Cake

A great alternative to an elaborate Christmas cake too.

I have never tasted such a delicious and moist fruit loaf.

I first tried an Irish tea loaf at the Farm Barn Cafe near Fairlie, South Island of New Zealand. Their version is dark and delicious. If you are ever travelling that direction make sure to call in and try their tea cake, and let me know what you think. They have such a great gift shop too.

What is An Irish Tea Cake?

It is either referred to as an Irish Tea Cake or an Irish Tea Loaf. They are simply called tea cakes or tea loaves because they are often eaten at teatime (but also contain tea). They are easy to make and do not contain any butter (perfect if you are dairy free).
If butter is not an issue than I strongly recommend that you slice the tea cake and spread it liberally with butter.

Irish Tea Cake or Irish Tea Loaf is traditionally called Barmbrack and is made with yeast at Halloween.

Why do you soak it overnight in tea and whiskey?

Allowing the fruit mix to soak overnight (or for twelve plus hours) results in the fruit becoming plump and flavourful.

What ingredients do I need?

Fruit Mix
Tea bags
Whiskey (optional)
Brown sugar
Plain flour
Baking Powder

I don’t want to use whiskey?

That’s okay, although it is quite delicious when added. If you don’t want to add whiskey simply add more cold black tea.

I don’t have all those spices?

You can simply use 1 1/2 tsp of mixed spice as an alternative to the spices added.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Irish Inspired Tea Cake

Prep Time1 day
Cook Time1 hour
Servings: 8


  • 2 loaf tins
  • 1 Large mixing bowl
  • 1 medium sized bowl (for soaking the fruit overnight)


  • 800 grams fruit mix
  • 500 ml strong cold black tea (made with 3-4 tea bags)
  • 100 ml whiskey (alternatively you could add more tea)
  • 250 grams brown sugar
  • 450 grams plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 2 eggs


  • Boil the jug and prepare the strong black tea.
  • Place the fruit, cold tea and whiskey into a medium sized bowl and leave to soak overnight.
  • The next day begin by pre heating the oven to 170℃ and prepare two loaf tins (you may like to grease the tins with butter or line them with reusable baking liners or baking paper).
  • In a large mixing bowl place the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre.
  • Crack the eggs in to the well, add the soaked fruit (with the liquid) and mix gently with a dough whisk.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two loaf tins and place in the oven for an hour (it might be a good idea to check at 50 minutes, using a skewer, to see if your loaves are cooked – every oven is different).


    • If you intend to make in advance (such as Christmas) I would warp it in tinfoil and place in the freezer until needed. Other wise wrap and store in air tight container for up to a week.

  1. 5 stars
    This is amazing!! Dropped one of to the grandparents and took one to work. Everyone is asking for the recipe. So moist and tasty. Will be a regular over Christmas I think 🎄 🎂

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