Is bara brith a bread? Or is it a cake? Feelings run almost as high in some parts of Wales about this tasty issue as they do about the rugby scores. 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.


  • 400g (14oz) luxury mixed fruit
  • 75g (2½oz) pack dried cranberries
  • mug hot strong black tea
  • 100g (3½oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 heaped tbsp orange marmalade
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 450g (1lb) self-raising flour – try a mix of wholemeal and white • 175g (6oz) light soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp milk • 50g (2oz) crushed sugar cubes or granulated sugar, to decorate.


  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.
  2. Heat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Butter and line the bottom of a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment.
  3. Melt butter and marmalade together in a pan. Leave to cool for 5 mins, then beat in the eggs.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 spread with butter.