Irish Barmbrack—a traditional afternoon tea cake

Irish Barmbrack—a traditional afternoon tea cake

This is one of those celebratory recipes that live on down through generational memory. A holiday treat, from Easter and Christmas to Halloween and All Saints Day—small trinkets were often inserted in the dough to foretell future events (be sure to give fair warning!). Except for soaking the fruit, the whole thing goes together fast—like other quick breads. A few minutes in the toaster, a bit of butter melting on top—a sweet treat for breakfast or afternoon tea.

Irish Barmbrack
• Soak about 2 cups dried (not candied) fruit (raisins, cranberries, chopped apricots, etc) in 1 ½ cups strong hot tea—for 2 hours or overnight
• Whisk together 2 ½ cups flour, ½ tsp. baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice to taste
• In separate bowl, whisk 1 egg, ¾ cup light brown sugar, ¼ cup orange or lemon marmalade, 2 tblsp whiskey, 1 tsp orange or lemon zest and the drained, soaked fruit
• Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined—the dough will be wet
• Spread dough in a well greased bundt pan lined with buttered wax paper
• Bake at 350’ for 45-60 minutes—check at 45 min—top of cake should spring back when pressed—
• Let cool, first in pan on rack, then removed from pan to rack, at least 2 hours
• Store well wrapped in foil
The Kitchen Hive

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