Granny's Kitchen

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Bara Brith February 27, 2013

Bara Brith 1


This is translated as ”speckled bread”. Apparently once a week the stove was lit for baking day, as the heat began to fade in the stove, so a handful of currants was added to the last of the bread dough and this speckled bread became a treat. The flavour, however, of this spiced, honey-glazed fruit bread is delicious when spread with some Welsh butter, so it’s no wonder that Bara Brith is still produced all over Wales.


Happy St David’s Day to all my Welsh Family and Friends on 1st March!




450g (1lb) mixed dried fruit
300ml (1/2 pint) tea
2 tbsp marmalade
1 egg, beaten
6 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
450g (1lb) self-raising flour
honey to glaze




Soak the fruit overnight in the tea.

Next day, mix the marmalade, egg, sugar, spice and flour into the fruit. Spoon into a lined loaf tin and bake in a warm oven 170C/gas 3 for 1 hour or until the centre is cooked through. Check from time to time that the top doesn’t brown too much, and cover with a sheet of foil or move down a shelf in the oven if necessary.

Once cooked, leave the Bara Brith to stand for 5 minutes, then tip out of the tin on to a cooling tray. Using a pastry brush, glaze the top with honey.

Serve sliced with butter and some tasty farmhouse Cheddar. Store in an airtight tin.


Holly Decorated Christmas Cake November 28, 2012

I made this simple yet effective cake for a friend.

This was made in a 6”/16cm cake tin.


6 oz of softened butter

6 oz brown sugar

3 eggs

½ lb of plain flour (use white flour for a traditional result and wholemeal for a darker cake)

¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp of salt (this really helps bring out the flavours so don’t leave it out)

1 ¼ tsp ground mixed spice (or a mix of ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground cloves)

1 ¼ lb mixed dried fruit, soaked overnight in the liquid of choice. For this I used tea as my friend didn’t want alcohol in it.

6 Tbsp apricot jam

1lb approx 500g marzipan

1lb approx 500g white ready to roll fondant

green food colouring

7-inch cake tin lined with greaseproof paper, place the tin on the paper and draw around it to get the right size for the lining on the inside.


Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour on your liquid for soaking  – no need to measure just keep on adding until the liquid gets to the top of the fruit. Cover tightly with a clean tea towel and leave overnight.

Then when you’re ready to finish the cake, first line your cake tin with greaseproof paper and turn your oven on to Gas Mark 1 (140C or 275F).

Then get another large bowl and add your softened butter and sugar. Give it a quick mix with a wooden spoon, there’s no need to go the whole hog and bash it until it’s properly creamed.

Then crack in your eggs and add the rest of the dried ingredients.

Strain the dried fruit from any remaining liquid and add this into the large bowl.

Give it all a stir until the dried fruit is evenly covered.

You want quite a stiff cake mix at this point, the wooden spoon should stand up unaided in the mix. If the mix is so stiff that you’re finding it hard to get the spoon in and stir then add a swish of saved liquid. But if the cake mix is too sloppy then add a tablespoon or so of flour and stir.

Then heave it all into the lined cake tin and put it in the oven for 3 hours.

You’ll know when the cake is done because the now solidified cake mix will have detached itself from the edge of the tin and shrunk inwards a bit. Also your kitchen will be smelling wonderful.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin, for at least 45 minutes – 1 hour, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate, melt 3 Tbsp of jam in the microwave and brush all over the cake. Roll out the marzipan to fit over and around the cake, I rolled mine into a 12”/31cm circle, and place onto the cake, smoothing down with your hand.

You now need to leave it to dry, for about least 2 days.

Again, melt 3 Tbsp of the jam. Roll out the fondant, as you did the marzipan. Place the fondant onto the marzipaned cake.

Colour the left over fondant green, and using holly cutters, cut out some holly leaves. Attach them with a brush just slightly dampened with water then add the berries.


Man Cake July 29, 2012

Man cake, so called as it’s full of fruit and spices but if your like me, you’ll enjoy it too 😉
Serves 10




450g/1 lb plain flour

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

175g/6oz butter or margarine

225g/8oz light brown sugar

225g/8oz dried mixed fruit

1 large egg

300ml/1/2 pint milk

150g/5oz dark brown sugar




Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Line a deep 20cm/8in cake tin.

Sift the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and rub in the butter, aiming for a fine breadcrumb like texture. Stir in the sugar and mixed fruit. Mix in the egg and milk and stir until you have a soft dropping consistency.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and even out the top. Scatter the dark brown sugar over the top of the cake, if your sugar has gone a bit hard and lumpy all the better.

Bake for about 1 hour 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean – check after 1 hour though, you might decide you need to cover it with baking parchment to stop the top burning. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes before putting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cold, make yourself a cup of coffee to have with a chunk of that cake 🙂




Malt Loaf or Tea Bread? July 19, 2012

This is a cross between a tea bread and a malt loaf.  So it could be called tea loaf or even malt bread? You decide. Anyway, what ever you want to call it, it tastes lovely. So simple, kids can cook! If possible, pre-soak the mixed fruits in the tea over night or even for a few hours before you make the recipe. This stops the fruit sinking to the bottom of the cake when it cooks. If you forget or haven’t got time, it will be fine left to soak for as many minutes spare that you have. Makes 2 loaves.




150ml hot black tea

3 Tbsp black treacle

2 Tbsp malt extract

85g dark brown sugar

300g mixed dried fruit

2 large eggs, beaten

250g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 dessert spoonful golden syrup




Make up the tea using 1 teabag in boiling water & leave the teabag to stew for a few minutes until it looks quite strong. Then get rid of the teabag.

Add all of the mixed fruit into the jug of tea & give it all a good stir to make sure all of the fruit is covered in the tea. Leave for as long as you can to let the fruit absorb the tea. This makes the fruits go all plump, juicey & full. The longer you leave them, the plumper they’ll be. If you don’t soak them they’ll just be a little bit sadder and sink to the bottom of the cake when its cooked.

Pour the pre-soaked tea & fruit into a mixing bowl. Add the treacle, malt extract & sugar & give it a really good mix.

Next add the eggs. The mixture will seem a bit frothy and bubbly now.

Tip in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix everything together really well. it’s looks a bit revolting but don’t worry, it’s meant to look like that. It should smell nice though.

Line 2 loaf tins with baking paper.

Split the mixture equally between the 2 loaf tins. Then bake at gas mark 2 / 150C for 1 hour 10 minutes. It should be firm to the touch & a skewer should come out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

Remove from the oven, but before you remove the baking paper, heat the syrup for 10-15 seconds in the microwave and brush over the loaf. Don’t let it cool too much though before you cut yourself a slice and sit down with a nice cup of coffee and a slice of the malt loaf. If you want to, you can even butter a piece before you eat it.

1 of the loaves can be eaten & the other frozen. Simply wrap it in baking parchment & then kitchen foil & freeze for up to 4 months.




Simnel Cake April 1, 2012

Originally made and given to Mothers on Mothering Sunday.

It was not eaten on Mothering Sunday because of the rules of Lent, instead it was saved until Easter.

The word simnel probably derived from the latin word ‘simila’, meaning fine, wheaten flour from which the cakes were made.

The Simnel cake is a fruit cake. A flat layer of marzipan is placed on top and decorated with 11 marzipan balls representing the 12 apostles minus Judas, who betrayed Christ.

Simnel cake is still made in many parts of Britain today, although it is now more commonly made for and eaten at Easter.


175g/60z butter

175g/6oz soft brown sugar

3 large eggs

175g/6oz plain flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp mixed spice

350g/12oz dried mixed fruit

55g/2oz chopped mixed peel

1/2 lemon. grated zest only

1 – 2 Tbsp apricot jam

1 egg, beaten for glazing

500g/1lb marzipan


Roll out a third of the almond paste to make a circle 18cm/7in in diameter and reserve the remainder for the cake topping.

Preheat oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Grease and line a 18cm/7in cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice  a little at a time. Finally, add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and stir into the mixture.

Put half the mixture into a greased and lined 18cm/7in cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with the circle of almond paste. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for the cake to rise. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¾ hours. Test by inserting a skewer in the middle – if it comes out clean, it is ready. Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam. Divide the remainder of the almond paste in half; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.

Place the circle of paste on the jam glaze and set the balls round the edge. Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the cake onto a baking tray and grill for 1-2 minutes, or until the top of the marzipan begins to brown. Alternatively, lightly heat the cake topping using a cook’s blow torch, until the marzipan is golden-brown.


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