Granny’s Bara Brith

Prep Time:10 mins (plus soak time), Cook Time: 45 mins, Total Time: 55 mins

October 12, 2013

Bara Brith Recipe | Eat Your VegLike most ladies of her generation my Granny was a very keen home baker and cook. But she also happened to be an exceptionally patient, fun and inspiring Granny who always had time to bake cakes and biscuits and other fancy (but usually sweet!) goodies a plenty with me, her eldest granddaughter, and most frequent guest. I whiled away many a happy summer and half term holiday at her home which she shared with my equally wonderful Great Aunty Marjorie, also an enthusiastic home cook and former domestic science teacher, just over the border in Powys, Wales.

They sadly both died several years ago and now that I have my own children I truly appreciate more than ever the inordinate efforts, time and kindness Granny and Aunty Marjorie bestowed on me during my childhood and quite how lucky a girl I was. So very many fond memories of not just baking but of being whisked away on road trip after road trip, visiting Welsh castles galore, being treated to trinkets in every gift shop, fish & chips in beautiful Aberdovey and never ever passing a tea room without afternoon tea and cakes. Oh the chore!.  

0Their food was never fancy, actually quite basic by today’s standards, but it was always made with love and excitement. So so many cakes, biscuits (oh the melting, ‘melting moments’), breads, scones, tea breads, rock buns, shortbreads, traybakes…..heavenly!. My Mum has quite a few of Granny’s recipe cards, which she still uses regularly herself, and I recently found one for her Bara Brith, a traditional Welsh fruit cake. Interesting this one’s a yeast free recipe and happens to be ridiculously easy to make and bake. I tinkered with the original recipe ever so slightly, adding half wholemeal flour instead of all plain and lowering the sugar a wee bit. But other than that it was just how Granny (and I!) used to make it.

My kids LOVED baking Bara Brith with me, though it was a little tricky to stir for them by the end! And they’re loving eating it just as much, it makes a fab lunch box addition or after school treat. Or at absolutely any time of the day actually, even breakfast! And Francesca was very happy to get to use her two mini loaf tins given to her recently by my Aunty Maggie, Granny’s daughter and my Mum’s Sister. I really do hope Granny’s out there somewhere looking down and seeing two of her Great Grandchildren loving to bake as much as she and I did. I’m sure she’d be absolutely delighted!.

As this month’s Tea Time Treats’ (hosted jointly by Lavender and Lovage and this month by What Kate Baked) theme is Sweet Breads & Yeast Breads I’m entering Granny’s Bara Brith. Also to Family Foodies, a brand new event jointedly hosted by myself and Vanesther of Bangers & Mash. I’m hosting the first month and we’ve chosen a rather broad of first theme of Weekend Slowies. Anything family-friendly that you may choose to take a little more time over making or baking at the weekend. There’s even a prize this month of the Leon Family & Friends Cookbook!. So if you haven’t already done so please do enter. And finally on the challenge front to the Breakfast Club, started by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and this month hosted by Michelle of Utterly Scrummy, this month’s theme’s happens to be fruit.

Bara Brith Challenges

The Good Stuff:

Dried Fruit and lots of it!

Great For:

Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers, Big Kids, Grown Ups, Breakfast (and I know it is!), Elevensies, Packed Lunches, Picnics, Afternoon Tea, Absolutely any time really!.


Yields 2 large ‘loaves’ or 4 baby ‘loaves’ or a combination of the two. Great eaten as is or even better with a naughty slather of butter!.

Special Equipment:

2 x Oblong Cake or Loaf Tins or 4 x baby Loaf Tins. Lined with Baking Parchment.

Granny’s Bara Brith

Ingredients Prep Time:10 mins (plus soak time), Cook Time: 45 mins, Total Time: 55 mins

450ml hot tea (made with 3 tea bags), black
350g mixed dried fruit
225g wholemeal self raising flour
225g white self raising flour
225g dark brown sugar
1 heaped teaspoon allspice
1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten, free range

1) Pre-heat your oven to 180ºc/160ºc fan/Gas Mark 4/5
2) Make the tea and pour over the dried fruit. Leave to soak overnight or for a good few hours
3) Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together (employ a stirrer to do this i.e a small child is perfect)
4) Stir in the soaked fruit, any excess tea and the beaten egg – it will get very stiff so grown up help may be required
5) Turn out into your prepared tins
6) Place in the preheated oven for 45 mins for large loaves or 30 mins small
7) Turn out on to wired racks and allow to cool

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6 thoughts on “Granny’s Bara Brith

  1. What Kate Baked

    I’m born and bred in Wales and nothing, absolutely nothing, beats a slice (or two…or three) of Mums Bara Brith! Loved reading all your great memories of baking this great loaf. Thanks for entering TTT!

    1. Louisa

      Ahr thanks Kate, I think I’ve eaten Bara Brith all my life, my Granny used to always bake it and then my Mum and now myself for my own littlies. And it really is pretty healthy for a cake! And so delicious at absolutely any time of the day!.


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