I admit the title is used rather “tongue-in-cheek”. But this version of the classic Welsh Bara Brith has the lovely cherry and almond flavours of the famous tarts and puddings of Bakewell. Nevertheless, it still draws more from Wales than Derbyshire. Either way it’s tasty, it’s easy to bake and it’s a bit different ….. and I always approve, admire and allow alliteration.
Makes: 10 – 12 slices
Time: 10 minutes the night before, then 20 – 30 minutes prep on the day, followed by 90 minutes baking plus some cooling time. Another 20 – 30 minutes to decorate as shown (optional).
Need: A 1kg/2lb loaf tin
- 250g/9oz mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants in any combination)
- 300ml/10fl oz hot strong, black tea
- 50g/1¾oz soft light brown sugar
- 250g/9oz self raising flour
- 60g/2oz ground almonds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spices
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 – 2 tsp almond extract
- 1 apple
- 60g/2oz flaked almonds
- 125g/4½oz glace cherries, halved
- 50ml/1¾fl oz treacle
- 30ml/1fl oz milk
- 60g/2oz unsalted butter, softened
- 60g/2oz full fat cream cheese, also softened
- Around 250g/9oz icing sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 60g/2oz ground almonds
- About 10 – 12 cherries, halved
- A scattering of flaked almonds
1. The night before baking, place the dried fruits in a medium bowl and pour the hot tea over them. Stir well, cover and leave to soak overnight.
2. The following day, heat the oven to 150°C / Fan 130°C / 300°F / Gas 2. Grease the tin and line with baking parchment, leaving the two long sides standing above the edge of the tin to lift out the loaf.
3. Put the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, spices and salt) into a large bowl and mix well.
4. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly. Stir in the almond extract.
5. Peel and core the apple. Cut half into small pieces, grate the rest then add it all into the dried fruit and tea mixture*. Also stir in the flaked almonds and cherries, followed by the eggs. Mix well. (*If the tea has not fully soaked into the fruit you could pour off some of the excess liquid, but having a small amount remaining is fine.)
6. If necessary, transfer all the wet ingredients into a larger bowl so there’s room for mixing. Tip the dry ingredients into the wet, add in the treacle and milk then stir to mix thoroughly.
7. Tip or spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Tap the tin firmly on your work surface a couple of times to release any trapped air then bake for about 90 minutes. Check after 80 and cover the top with foil if it appears to be darkening too much.
8. Check that the loaf is baked by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out dry, it’s ready. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
9. For the topping, beat together the softened butter and cream cheese then sift in the icing sugar. Stir at first then beat more vigorously. Stir in the almond extract then the ground almonds. You’re aiming for a thick but workable paste-like consistency. If necessary place in fridge for 20 minutes then beat again before using.
10. Spoon or pipe the mixture over the cooled cake then add cherry halves and almond flakes.
I hope you enjoy this lovely cake. If you want more loaf cake recipes click this link. Meanwhile, here are some more that I’m confident you’ll enjoy too and I’d love you to try them: