Tea Brack

Recipe by PJ Hamel

Tea brack — a.k.a. Irish Freckle Bread — is a moist, close-grained, packed-with-fruit breakfast bread. Based on Ireland's classic yeasted barm brack, this quicker version is just as popular in that country, where its only sweetness comes from the raisins and sultanas it's packed with. Our Americanized version adds brown sugar plus additional fruit (prunes and dates). Like the original Irish tea brack, though, the fruit is soaked in brewed tea, which is the bread's only liquid. If desired, substitute 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey for an equal amount of the tea.

10 mins
1 hr to 1 hr 10 mins
2 hrs 20 mins
8" round cake, 16 servings
Tea Brack


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  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. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8" x 2" round cake pan. If your pan isn't at least 2" deep, use a 9" round pan.

  3. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

  4. Add the dried fruit, and any remaining liquid. Stir until thoroughly combined; the batter will be thick and stiff.

  5. Add the egg, mixing until thoroughly combined.

  6. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the coarse sparkling sugar.

  7. Bake the bread for 60 to 70 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out moist, but without clinging crumbs.

  8. Remove it from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.