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Barmbrack comes in tons of varieties, from light and yeasted to super-dense and fruitcake-like, which is what I attempted here. It's traditionally a Halloween treat, and my experience was, unfortunately, equal parts trick and treat. This recipe improves on the original video version, which my Irish friends on YouTube said needed baking soda, more tea, and much less whole grain flour. Of course, top with butter and enjoy alongside a cup of hot tea.

Recipe Summary

10 mins
45 mins
2 hrs 10 mins
3 hrs 5 mins
1 9x5-inch loaf


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place tea bags in a heatproof measuring cup. Pour in boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and let cool until barely warm.

  • Combine currants, cherries, and raisins in a bowl. Pour warm tea over the fruit. Let sit for 2 hours. Drain fruit, reserving 2 to 4 tablespoons of the tea.

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Thoroughly butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan and line with buttered parchment paper.

  • Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Add brown sugar, egg, milk, reserved tea, lemon and orange zest, whiskey, vanilla, and butter. Mix until flour is mostly incorporated. Stir in fruit until just combined.

  • Spread batter into the prepared loaf pan. Tap pan against the counter.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Drizzle honey over the top. Let cool in the pan before slicing.


Chef's Notes:

Use any kind of whiskey you prefer.

Feel free use all all-purpose flour. Using half spelt (1 cup) inhibited the height for me, so feel free to experiment with the amount. You can also use regular whole wheat flour instead.

Nutrition Facts

316 calories; protein 5.6g; carbohydrates 51.2g; fat 9.9g; cholesterol 46.8mg; sodium 569.5mg. Full Nutrition