Irish Tea Brack

Saturday 8 June 2019

You are going to love this recipe I am sharing with you today.  It is Irish Tea Brack, and as one would suppose hails from Ireland. (Have I ever told you our landlord is Irish?)  

It is a very traditional Irish recipe which is kind of a cross between a cake and a bread.  The word Brack comes from an old Irish word "breac" which means speckled, and this lovely bread/cake is certainly well speckled with fruit! 

It used three vine fruits . . .  raisins, sultanas (or golden raisins) and currants. These are soaked overnight in some cold tea. 

I try to use a really strong tea to do breads like this so I tend to leave the tea bag in the water until it goes cold. 

This recipe comes from the book "Homemade"  by Irish cook Clodagh McKenna.  It is the nicest brack recipe I have ever baked, and I have baked a few. 

The book is largely out of print now, but you can still find it in some second hand shops as well as buy it from sellers online.  Its a great book that I highly recommend!

You can also add the finely grated zest of a lemon to the mix.  

Its not necessarily traditional, but it does add a nice flavour if you have it. I rather like it myself.

Its actually a very simple recipe. You begin by soaking the fruit overnight in the tea. 

The next morning, you sift together flour, mixed spice, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Easy peasy.

Mixed spice is a very British thing  . . . a mix of the warm baking spices . . .  traditionally it is about half cinnamon . . . then ground coriander, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  Some  brands will also have ground pimento in it.  

I have a recipe that you can make your own on  separate page entitled "Make Your Own" here on the blog. You can access that here.

Once you get all the dry ingredients sifted together,  you can stir in some sugar. Once you have done that you can add the soaked fruits, along with any tea left in the soaking bowl.

A beaten egg then gets stirred into the batter.

Mix all together until there are no dry areas in the dough and everything is well mixed. 

Spoon the batter into a buttered and lined tin and bake  . . .

One hour later you will be rewarded with a delicious fruity loaf that your family will love! 


It smells absolutely gorgeous when it is baking.  

My husband came downstairs yesterday morning sniffing the air thinking all of his Christmas's had come at once.  Yes, it smells that good! 

We like it sliced thinly and spread with softened butter.  This goes down a real treat with a hot cuppa!

Irish Tea Brack

Yield: 1 loaf
Author: Marie Rayner
You are going to love this traditional Irish tea loaf! Moist, delicious and fat free! You don't need to feel guilty spreading slices of it with butter  because there is none in the bread!


  • 350g mixed dried vine fruits (raisins, sultanas and currants)  (2  1/2 cups)
  • 300ml cold tea, strong (1 1/4 cups)
  • 120g caster sugar (1/2 cup, plus 2 TBS)
  • 1 large free range egg, beaten lightly
  • 250g plain flour (1 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice (see my recipe in the right hand side bar, or if on a mobile device down at the bottom of the page)


How to cook Irish Tea Brack

  1. Place all the dried fruit into a bowl.  Cover with the cold tea, cover and leave overnight to infuse.
  2. The next morning preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a 1 kg loaf tin (2 pound) and line the bottom with paper. (I make an overhang so I can lift it out easily.)
  3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and mixed spice.  Add the fruit along with any tea still in the bowl, and the beaten egg.  Mix well.  Spoon into the prepared tin, levelling it off.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour until risen, golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes before lifting out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Once cold store in an airtight container.  This will keep up to two weeks. (Not that you will have it that long!)  Serve cut into slices, spread with softened butter, if desired.
Created using The Recipes Generator

 Irish Tea Brack 

Properly stored, this lovely loaf will keep up to two weeks.  I seriously doubt it will be around that long however.  Yes, it is THAT good!  

Make Your Own Mixed Spice: You can easily make your own mixed spice: Combine 1 TBS ground cinnamon, 1 tsp each of ground coriander and nutmeg, 1/2 tsp of ground ginger, 1/4 tsp each of ground cloves and all spice. Mix well and store in an airtight container out of the light for up to 6 months.

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  1. Replies
    1. I love these wonderful old traditional recipes Monique! xoxo

  2. THis looks delicious and hearty, too. Printer is running as I type! Thank you!

    1. Oh you are in for a real treat Jeanie! I adore these old traditional recipes! They're the best! xoxo

  3. You never said when to add sugar

    1. I am sorry. Stir it into the flour before you add everything else.

  4. Hi
    I tried hard to find your"did you know" section without success.
    We live in rural France and things like mixed spice are hard to find so a recipe would be useful.We make our own golden syrup and typically British name and condiments but so far an acceptable recipe for mixed spice has eluded us.
    Nice tea brack by the way.
    Ron Cook.

    1. Hi Ron, sorry about that, I will need to amend that. I moved all my "Did you Know" into a separate page. Here is the link:

      Sorry about any confusion! Hope you will bake it and enjoy!

  5. Marie,
    Irish Brack is a favorite of mine! I'll be making this Irish Tea Brack this morning to savour the rest of the week (and hopefully, into the weekend!). I absolutely adore Clodagh's recipes, and have been using her "Irish Kitchen" cookbook for a long time. Will be looking for "Homemade"!
    Also wanted to tell you your robin mug is adorable! English robins captured my heart when we visited the UK and Ireland a couple of years ago. They are so different than our eastern robins in the US...smaller but with so much personality, not unlike our black capped chicadees. If you remember where you found your mug, would you mind sharing your source? I'd love to have my morning tea in one.
    Thanks again for sharing the brack recipe! My mouth is watering already!

    1. I hope that you enjoy it Deb! I think it is pretty wonderful. I once baked it twice in one week! Oh yes our robins are very cue over here! I got my mug at a garden shop here in the UK. It is a Wrendale Designs. All of their creations are adorable. xoxo

  6. Thank you, Marie! I might have known it is a Wrendale Design! Love her work! xoxo

  7. I would love a Jump to the Recipe button on your blog entries! I usually am interested in seeing the recipe first. Carol in Texas

    1. Hi Carol, unfortunately blogger doesn't allow for a jump to recipe button. I wish it did!

  8. I don't know what happened, but I can't even see the recipes now, they are covered with ads!! Only way I could read the recipe was to print it. This one sounds great, and I'll making it for sure. However, I'll likely unsubscribe because of the ads totally covering the recipe part.

    1. I am not sure what browser or device you are using. I have checked this page out on my laptop, my iPad, and my samsung phone, using chrome, Safari and microsoft edge. The recipe is completely visible on all of my devices and all of my browsers. Is it possible you have accidentally changed a setting on the device you are using? It would be helpful if you could let me know what you are using and then I can get in touch with mediavine and ask them what's up.

  9. nope. nothing shows up on my browser that is your 'spices' recipe to add to this cake

    1. If you look at the Printable Recipe, it is actually at the bottom of the page now. I hope this helps. Sorry for any confusion. I thought it would be easier to find on the actual recipe card.


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