Tea fruit cake

A couple of months a go I bought some nice English Breakfast tea bags from Morrison’s best range because I had a brickie sorting out my pointing. He had a lot of tea.

I really fancied making a tea bread or some such where the fruits are soaked in tea. I have a college recipe but I cobbled something together myself and I was surprised how well it turned out. I’ve made it twice with changes. It’s quite light, not like a Christmas fruit cake. It went down well at work.

3 tea bags
250ml boiling water
1/2 tsp mixed spice
250g mixed fruit

200g butter, room temperature
180g sugars
20g honey
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
250g flour
1 1/2tsp mixed spice
1 dessert apple for grating

In a large heatproof bowl, soak the tea bags in the water for a few minutes. Give it a gentle stir. Chuck in the fruit, not the apple, and the 1/2 tsp spice. Stir it. After 15 minutes take out the tea bags. I did all this in the morning and went out. I got back to it 5 hours later. The fruit was nice and plump and there was a bit of tea left over. Pour that tea into a jug.

Now turn the oven on to 170C. I have a fan oven so it cooks more quickly than convection ovens.

Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.

Beat the butter. Mix in the sugar, honey 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice and salt. Give it a good mix then just leave it for ten minutes. I’ve heard this allows the sugar to melt in better. Give it another quick mix.  Break each egg into a small bowl before adding  to the butter and beating in. Less risk of getting shell into the mix.  Also if the egg is off you haven’t ruined the whole thing. We did this at college and Mary Berry says it too I think.

Mix 50g or so flour in to the fruit so that it is all coated.

In to the batter sieve in the rest of the flour and baking powder. Mix till just combined. Pour in the tea. Fold in the fruit. Grate the apple and fold that in too.

Pour in to the tin and level off with a bowl scraper or spoon or off-set spatula. Put in oven. After 40 minutes lower temperature about 10C. Bake for about an hour, probably more, in total. At about 50 minutes you may need to cover the tin with baking paper to stop burning. At one hour use cake tester or skewer to check if it is done. Put it back in for longer if uncooked obvs.

Leave in tin for about 15 minutes to set and remove. Take off bottom paper. Leave to cool.

I did a variation where I used 100g of demerara sugar and 80g or golden caster. I left out the apple. I added 1tsp of ginger powder. I baked it in a ring tin. It filled the completely and rose quite high up above the edge but didn’t pour over. Someone noticed I’d used the demerara, which was good. It adds a bit extra.


It’s slightly burned on the edges, just adds texture and flavour. I keep forgetting to move my medicines out of shot.


The fruit didn’t entirely sink.IMG_20190102_173045114

This one the fruit stayed suspended because of coating with flour.

At work I had a piece warm with some custard and it worked well.

On a side note the Spice Tailor curry is Dehli Black Makhani Daal. It was lovely and took minutes to make. I had it with some microwaved veg and homemade parathas which I will do a recipe for sometime.



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