Everyone has their own sweet memories of cold tea cake.
For me, I remember long December nights where my whole family would gather in our house to shelter from the winter cold. My grandmother would bring the Welsh tea cake, bara brith, my aunt would bring another Welsh cake similar to scones, cage bach, and my cousins would bring the warmth and the chaos. There, we’d sit beside the fire for hours, drinking milky black tea and divulging secrets and stories until there was nothing left but crumbs.
I’m sure that the smell of warm, fresh tea cake will stir up your own memories. We’ve all helped our grandmother to knead the dough, we’ve shared the same experience of dishing out plates of the cakes at family gatherings, and each and every one of us has celebrated good news with a delicious slice of tea cake and a warm, sweet brew.
Luckily, cold tea cake is incredibly easy to bake.
It will take you around 15 minutes for prep, 1 hour for cooking, and approximately 8 hours to soak the ingredients overnight.
To make one large cold tea cake big enough to feed the whole family, you will need:
- 340g mixed dried fruit
- 110g brown soft sugar
- 200ml water
- 4 black teabags/ 3 teaspoons of loose leaf tea
- 1 orange
- 50g butter
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 egg
- 4 tsp Demerara sugar
- Add 200ml of freshly boiled water to the tea, letting it brew until the water is dark brown. Leave in the fridge until cool.
- Whilst the tea cools, cut open the orange and juice. You should be able to get out around 75ml of juice, which should then be put into a bowl along with a teaspoon of freshly grated zest.
- Place all dried fruits in the mixing bowl, adding the brown sugar, cold tea, and freshly squeezed orange juice and zest. Mix well. Cover with cling film and leave to soak overnight.
- Heat oven to 190C/ 170C fan/ Gas 5. Grease a 2lb tin with butter.
- Mix together flour and a beaten egg and add to the fruit mixture, carefully stirring them together. Pour the mixture into the tin and then smooth over the surface with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the surface with four teaspoons of Demerara sugar.
- Bake for one hour in a fan-assisted oven, and a little longer in a regular oven – or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin before turning it out and putting it onto a plate.
- And finally, you can enjoy the cake! Cut the cold tea cake into slices and serve with a delicious side of tea, and watch your children retreat from their bedrooms, your husband return from the garage, and your dog run in with his tail wagging; all ready to sit together and create more sweet memories.
Don’t forget that loose leaf tea has the best flavour so don’t use that builders teabag – break open the Blue Tea Box.