English Tea Loaf
Half-way between a loaf of bread and a fruit cake: more sumptuous than bread, less fat than most cakes.
Vegetarian. Hands-on time: 10 mins. Total time: 1 hour 15 mins (plus soaking).
Contributed by (August 2011).
Photo © Veg World
This rich, fruity loaf is very popular in England, where it's often eaten with the traditional afternoon tea - although it makes an excellent snack at any time of the day. You serve it sliced, with butter, jam (jelly) or honey - or just it on its own. It's also nice toasted.
The hands-on time for this recipe is quite short, but you will need to do the first step well in advance, to give the fruit time to soak.
- 1 tea bag
- 1 cup (8 fl oz, 240 ml) boiling water
- 1¾ cups (9 oz, 250 g) mixed dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins [sultanas] or currants, in any combination)
- 2½ tsp. oil
- 1 beaten egg
- ¾ cup (5 oz, 150 g) brown sugar
- 2 cups (8 oz. 225 g) self-raising flour
- 1 tsp. mixed cake spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.)
Put the tea bag in a bowl, and pour the boiling water over it. Add the fruit. Leave to soak for several hours or overnight (remove the tea bag after about ten minues).
When the fruit is ready, transfer it to a larger bowl (all the liquid should have been absorbed at this point, but there's no need to drain off any that remains). Add the oil and the beaten egg.
Stir in the sugar, flour and spices, mixing thoroughly. The mixture should resemble a thick batter.
Turn the mixture into an oiled loaf tin. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon that has been dipped in hot water.
Bake in an oven pre-heated to 350F (180C) for about an hour, or until a knife comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
The loaf should keep fresh for several days if stored in an airtight container.
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Note on quantities and temperatures:
Quantities are given in American (cups), imperial (oz, fl oz) and metric (g, ml) units. Do not mix the units - use one or other system throughout the recipe.
See also How much does a cup weigh?
oz = ounces, fl oz = fluid ounces, g = grams, ml = milliliters, tsp = teaspoons, tbsp = tablespoons.
Oven temperatures are given in degrees F (Fahrenheit) and C (Celsius).
For fan-assisted ovens, reduce the temperature by 20F or 10C.