It seems a little odd that I am starting bread matters with a non-yeast variety but Tea bread is really quick and easy and should work even if you have never baked before. There are no tricks and the end result is a lovely slightly sticky, fruity cake which you can eat on its own or spread with a little butter.
This bread you need to start the day before. The fruits must be soaked in hot tea overnight so they have time to swell. You could use Earl Grey, Green Tea or just some good old builder’s best. Once you have made the cake, allow it to cool before taking it out of the tin.
Cake tin needed – 2 lb loaf tin, greased and lined with grease-proof paper.
350 g (12 oz) mixed dried fruit. (I used sultanas on their own but you could put in a mixture of raisins, currants, chopped apricots, craisins, mixed peel and cherries.)
225 g (8 oz) light brown sugar
300 ml (1/2 pint) hot tea made using 2 teabags or 2 teaspoons tea leaves
275 g (10 oz) self-raising flour
zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg, beaten.
- Put the dried fruit into a bowl with the sugar and stir it, then pour over the hot tea. Cover and leave it overnight to allow the fruit to plump up nicely.
- Preheat the oven to 150 ° C/ 130 ° F/ Gas 2. Grease a loaf tin and line the bottom with some grease-proof paper.
- Add the flour, lemon zest and beaten egg to the fruit and stir with a wooden spoon until it is thoroughly mixed together. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and flatten the surface gently.
- Bake to 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours until the tea bread is well risen and firm to the touch. If you insert a skewer into the centre of the bread it should come out clean. If it is tacky pop it back into the oven for a few more minutes.
- Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes then loosen the sides carefully with a small, flat knife. Turn the tea bread out and leave it on a wire rack to cool. Peel off the paper and serve it sliced and with butter.
N.B. Always cool your bread/ cakes on a wire cooling rack otherwise you will end up with a soggy base.