This delicious Fruit Loaf is flavoured with strong tea and packed with mixed dried fruit. An incredibly easy tea bread recipe that is simply mixed together all in one bowl. Enjoy a slice with your cup of tea – simply heavenly!
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A Traditional Tea Cake
This simple cake is known by a variety of names: Fruit Cake, Fruit Bread or Tea Loaf. I was first introduced to the simple joys of this easy fruitcake when I visited England for the first time as a teenager.
I have loved tea bread passionately ever since – such a delicious treat with a cup of tea or the perfect way to start your day. Fruity tea bread for breakfast, toasted and spread with butter anyone?
What’s in a Fruit Loaf?
This traditional English recipe is packed with a lot of dried fruit which is first soaked in hot tea. Yorkshire Tea is a popular choice, but you can use any type of tea you like! I love using Afternoon Tea, Earl Grey or even Chai Tea – your tea choice will give your tea loaf a special personal touch.
I like to also add a teaspoon of tea (liberated from a tea bag!) to the cake batter for extra flavour. This is particularly lovely if you use Earl Grey or Lady Grey tea.
As for the mixed fruit, you can also use whatever you like. Raisins, sultanas, mixed peel and sometimes glace cherries can all be used. In fact pretty much anything goes, as long as the total weight comes to 350g (12.4oz).
This cake contains self raising flour, a little brown sugar and eggs but no butter, making it a popular dairy free cake choice. It keeps incredibly well for several days, in fact it becomes tastier the longer you keep it!
HOW TO MAKE TEA LOAF
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.
STEP 1 Make a pot of tea, using several tea bags or loose leaf tea. Leave the tea to steep for five minutes – you need a strong brew! Pour the hot tea over the dried fruit and leave to soak for 2-3 hours or even overnight.
STEP 3 Add the eggs and brown sugar to the soaked fruit (no need to drain any liquid, should any remain in the bowl) and stir to combine.
STEP 4 Sift in the flour and add cinnamon, tea leaves and orange zest. Mix everything together, making sure no dry pockets of flour remain.
STEP 5 Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and level. Bake for about 1 hour or until the cake is risen and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
STEP 6 Lift the cake out of the tin using the baking paper and cool on a wire rack. Garnish with a little orange or lemon zest. Slice to serve, spread with a little butter if you like.
STORING AND FREEZING FRUIT LOAF
Leftover fruit loaf keeps well for several days. Wrap your loaf in baking paper and store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or even longer!
This is also one of the BEST cakes for freezing. You can freeze an entire loaf, wrapped well in baking paper and foil. Thaw the loaf overnight in the fridge before slicing and serving.
You can also freeze a sliced fruit loaf and simply pop a slice in the toaster, no need to defrost, whenever you fancy a little treat!
HOW TO SERVE TEA CAKE
This fruity moist cake is perfect on its own, spread with butter or served with a slice of cheese such as Wensleydale. In fact this cake, cut into small thin slices, is perfect for your cheese platter!
CALORIES IN TEA CAKE
This recipe uses only 100g (½ cup) of brown sugar with most of the sweetness coming from the dried fruit.
You can reduce the sugar further or replace some of it with sweetener, such as Sukrin Gold, to bring the calories down further. The loaf can be cut into 14 generous slices or up to 18 thinner ones. One slice is 180 calories and 7 Weight Watchers SmartPoints.
NOT A DRIED FRUIT LOVER?
Easy Fruit Loaf
- 150 g (1 cup) raisins
- 150 g (1 cup) sultanas or currants
- 50 g (½ cup) mixed citrus peel
- 250 ml (1 cup) strong tea use 2-3 teabags / loose leaf tea
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 100 g (½ cup) soft brown sugar
- 240 g (2 cups) self raising flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp tea from a teabag
- 1 orange zest only
- strips of orange or lemon zest optional
- Make 250ml (1 cup) of tea, using tea bags or loose leaf tea. Leave the tea to steep for five minutes – you need a strong brew!
- Pour the hot tea over the dried fruit and leave to soak for 2-3 hours or even overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 170C (325F) or 150C (300F) Fan Setting. Line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with baking paper or use a cake liner.
- Add the eggs and brown sugar to the soaked fruit (no need to drain any liquid, should any remain in the bowl) and stir to combine.
- Sift in the flour and add cinnamon, tea leaves and orange zest. Mix everything together, making sure no dry pockets of flour remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and level. Bake for about 1 hour or until the cake is risen and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Lift the cake out of the tin using the baking paper and cool on a wire rack. Top with the orange zest, if using and slice to serve.
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