Cinnamon Swirl Tea Bread

Sunday 8 December 2019

One thing I like to bake every Christmas is my Cinnamon Swirl Tea Bread. It is a recipe I got from my good friend Leona many years ago, and it is delicious!  
Normally I just bake it plain, but during the Holidays I like to dress it up with a glaze!

Its incredibly moist and buttery and goes down very well with a hot cup of whatever floats your boat.  
Tea, coffee, herbal infusions, hot cocoa . . . you can enjoy this with any hot drink.

The rich batter contains butter and sour cream, which helps to make it incredibly moist.  This is one of those breads that just gets better with each day that passes. 

It will be just as good, if not better on the third or fourth day as it was on the first.

Tea Breads are called Tea Breads because they are delicious served with cups of tea, not because they are made with tea.  
The same way breakfast coffee cakes are not really made with coffee but meant to be enjoyed with hot coffee . . .

This delicious loaf has a lovely cinnamon flavour  . . .  both in the swirl which uses lots of soft light brown sugar and ground cinnamon  . . . 

(Oh boy, the smell  . . .  amazing.)

And in that sweet sticky glaze.That's right. There is the flavour of cinnamon in the glaze as well.

The swirl comes from layering in the cinnamon brown sugar mixture and then swirling it with a round bladed knife.  Try not to overdo it with the swirl.
You want it to be distinct and if you work too hard at it, it will be absorbed into the bread instead of giving you a swirl. Part of the charm of this bread is that distinct swirl. 

Sometimes it ends up a bit more swirly than others. You can never tell what its going to be until you cut the cooled bread open.  
No matter where the cinnamon ends up, one thing is for sure.  This is fabulously delicious!

Cinnamon Swirl Tea Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Tea Bread

Yield: Makes 1 loaf
Terrifically tasty.  Moist, yummy and oh so cinnamony!


  • 115g butter, softened (1/2 cup)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 240g  of sour cream or plain yogurt (1 cup)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 190g caster sugar (1 cup)
  • 280g plain flour (2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 6 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 TBS ground cinnamon
  • dash ground cardamom
Optional Glaze:
  • 65g icing sugar, sifted (1/2 cup)
  • milk to thin
  • pinch ground cinnamon


How to cook Cinnamon Swirl Tea Bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and line with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Measure the butter, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, sugar, flour, soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Beat together until well combined, but do not over beat. Stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom.
  3. Spread half of the batter into the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter over top. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Using a round bladed knife gently cut through the batter to swirl the cinnamon sugar through.
  4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes until well risen and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Store wrapped tightly in cling film. Serve cut in slices, toasted or not, and spread with butter.
  5. To make the optional glaze, whisk the icing sugar and cinnamon together with just enough milk to give you a drizzle icing.  Flick it over the top decoratively.

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This also makes wonderful gifts for neighbours and friends.  Bake, wrap well and freeze, then take out on the day, glaze and then let the glaze set, pop it onto a giftable bread board, wrap with some cellophane and tie it with a red ribbon.  I have never had anyone throw it back!

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  1. This looks delicious Marie, another one to add to my Christmas baking list! I make your stollen cake every year and everyone who has tasted it absolutely loved it.

    1. That makes me happy Eleanor. I like to think that I am a part of your Christmas that is enjoyed! I think you will also enjoy this bread! Happy Christmas! xoxo

  2. I had my printer going on this one before I even finished reading your post! This looks glorious! Thank you!


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