Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
10 mins. to 15 mins.
Baking time:
60 mins. to 1 hrs 10 mins.
Total time:
2 hrs 20 mins. to 2 hrs 25 mins.
Yield:
8" round cake, 16 servings
Tea brack — a.k.a. Irish Freckle Bread — is a moist, close-grained, packed-with-fruit breakfast bread. The flavor of the whole wheat is discernible, yet not overpowering because it's complemented by just the right degree of sweetness.

Interestingly, the recipe uses brewed tea as its liquid. If desired, substitute 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey for an equal amount of the tea.

This recipe comes from our award-winning cookbook, The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.
Volume Ounces Grams

  • 1 cup brewed hot tea; Irish breakfast tea is a good choice
  • 1 cup raisins, packed
  • 1/2 cup currants, packed
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, snipped into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 cups Irish-Style Wholemeal Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coarse sparkling white sugar

Directions

  1. 1) Pour the hot tea over the dried fruits in a medium-sized bowl. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm, about 1 hour.
  2. 2) Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease an 8" x 2" round cake pan. If your pan isn't at least 2" deep, use a 9" round pan.
  3. 3) In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. 4) Add the dried fruit, and any remaining liquid. Stir till thoroughly combined; the batter will be thick and stiff.
  5. 5) Add the egg, mixing till thoroughly combined.
  6. 6) Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the coarse sparkling sugar.
  7. 7) Bake the bread for 60 to 70 minutes, till a cake tester inserted in the center comes out moist, but without clinging crumbs.
  8. 8) Remove it from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.
  9. Yield: one 8" round loaf.