Is bara brith a bread? Or is it a cake? Some say bara brith is definitely a bread given that, made the traditional way, it is made with yeast and smeared liberally with salted Welsh butter. But others argue that since it’s packed with fruit and takes pride of place at any Welsh tea table, it’s indisputably a cake. Whatever the case, bara brith is delicious.

In Welsh, bara brith means ‘speckled bread’, the speckles being the raisins, currants and candied peel that go into it. Originally this name was used only in North Wales, with southerners calling it ‘teisen dorth’ (meaning ‘cake loaf’). But the moniker is now adopted throughout the principality.

In times gone by, bara brith would have been the final treat cobbled together at the end of the weekly bake at the village oven. As the embers began to fade, any leftover bread dough was gathered up and married with dried fruit, producing a delicious sweet bread.


  • 400g Luxury mixed fruit
  • 75g Dried cranberries
  • 1 Mug of hot strong black tea
  • 100g Butter plus extra for greasing
  • 2 Heaped tbsp of orange marmalade
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 450g Self-raising flour, try a mix of wholemeal and white
  • 175g Light soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp Ground ginger
  • 50g Crushed sugar cubes or granulated sugar, to decorate
  • 4tbsp Milk


  • STEP 1

    Mix together the dried fruit and cranberries in a large bowl, then pour the hot tea over. Cover with cling-film and leave to soak overnight

  • STEP 2

    Heat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Butter and line the bottom of a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment. Melt butter and marmalade together in a pan. Leave to cool for 5 mins, then beat in the eggs. Drain any excess tea from the fruit. Mix the flour, sugar and spices together, then stir in the fruit, butter mix and milk until evenly combined. The batter should softly drop from the spoon – add more milk if needed.

  • STEP 3

    Spoon into the tin and level the top. Sprinkle with the crushed sugar and bake for 1-1¼ hours until dark golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil if it starts to over-colour before the middle is cooked. Leave to cool completely in the tin and serve sliced.