Wartime Bara Brith – Recipe No 110


I love the word “Bara Brith”. During my years of living in Wales, the language and the Welsh accent rapidly became one of my favourites in the whole wide world. It’s a very musical language and I do miss hearing it around me..

“Bara Brith” means speckled bread. The traditional recipe calls for lots of dried fruit, soaked in tea overnight and orange zest to give it a little zing. This recipe was quite easily adapted during war years by using marmalade instead of orange juice and orange zest and finely grated carrot could be used to replace some of the fruit. I did just that..

The recipe also only requires one egg (or dried egg) too. Being vegan I used a scoop full of ground flax seed instead which seems quite a good replacement for eggs in baking.

I have only one thing to say on the outcome of this wonderful Welsh fruit bread..


Bara Brith

  • 1 lb of self raising flour (I used plain with 5 teaspoons of baking powder)
  • 1/2 pint of tea
  • 1 lb of mixed dried fruit (substitute 1/3 rd with finely grated carrot to save on rations)
  • 6 oz of light brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg (I used no egg but used one small scoop of ground flax seed)
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon or orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest ( or use 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade to replace the honey, orange juice and zest)


  1. Make 1/2 pint of strong tea and add the dried fruit and grated carrot to the tea, place in fridge overnight
  2. The next day mix the honey, orange juice and zest (or marmalade) with the sugar and egg and then add that to the fruit and tea mixture
  3. Sift the flour and spice into a large bowl and add the fruit/tea mixture
  4. Mix until all flour is mixed in and place in two small greased loaf tins or one large one and cook at 160 centigrade or 320 F for about 1 to 1.5 hours (use foil to cover if getting too brown)
  5. Remove and cool for a while then glaze with honey or a sugar water mix
  6. Remove from tin and cool thoroughly before storing in a tin
  7. Slice and serve with butter (or a lactose free margarine if vegan)


7 thoughts on “Wartime Bara Brith – Recipe No 110

  1. I have a recipe that is very similar but does not use any egg – eggless, butterless cold tea cake from a 1950s cookbook. Comes out beautifully every single time.

  2. Pingback: Bara Brith: the ultimate cyclist's energy food? - Cycling holidays in England and Wales

  3. Pingback: Bakes and Bunting at Strawberry Fair | Cambridge Ladybirds WI

  4. Typing recipe now:
    Eggless Butterless Cold Tea Cake
    Soak overnight 1 cup strong tea, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 packet mixed fruit and pinch soda. Next morning add 1 tablespoon treacle, 2 cups Self Raising Flour, 1 teaspoon mixed spice and pinch salt. Pour into greased bar tin and bake in moderate oven for 40 minutes. When cold, slice and spread with butter.
    Mrs RA Stiller
    Concordia Memorial College Parents’ and Friends’ Association Toowoomba Tried and Proven Recipes (published around early 1960s at a guess).

    I omit the sugar and the salt, and bake in a bundt tin (also known as a baba tin) and add more spices for mine. You can soak the fruit for only 1 hour if you are in a hurry. We eat this plain, it never lasts long!

  5. Pingback: Week One WWII Ration Experiment | Annamarie Neill

Leave a Reply