Sunday, 17 April 2016

Fruit tea loaf

This recipe came into being because I made a whim purchase.  Whilst visiting a Greek Cypriot supermarket on the quest for baklava (as instructed by Mr CC; if only all quests in life were this tasty!), I spotted a pouch of dried red and white mulberries.  I was starting from a position of ignorance: I didn’t know anyone other than silk worms ate mulberries, but, seeing as I didn’t see any silk worms doing their shopping I deduced that they must also be human food.

What caught my attention was their beautiful knobbly appearance.  I want to describe them as looking like a raisin that had suffered a severe allergic reaction to something but this wouldn’t convey how cute they are.  Texturally, they are similar to a dried fig i.e. they have a bit of grittiness about them.  They are also very dry, which was why I decided to use them in a tea loaf, where they’d have the opportunity to plump and rehydrate.

Having read up about mulberries they seem to be considered a superfood.  I always struggle with this term as – to me – most food is pretty darned super, but it is because they’re high in protein, iron and vitamins blah blah science etc.  They taste nice too – which is the most important thing; imagine a less sweet sultana.

Thickly buttered fruit loaf is one of life’s great joys.  I always say that you can toast the loaf and then butter it, but I never have any left to get to do that!


340g dried fruit – I used dried mulberries and sultanas
60g glace cherries – chopped
110g dark brown soft sugar
200ml cold tea – I used 2 teabags to boost the flavour
225g self raising flour
1 egg


The night before you wish to bake the cake: place the fruit, cherries and sugar in a bowl and mix with the tea.  Cover the bowl and leave - ideally overnight but longer won't hurt.

Day of baking: Preheat the oven to 190C/fan oven 170C/375F/gas mark 5.

Line a 900g loaf tin with baking paper.

Mix the flour and egg into the pre-soaked fruit mix – ensure it is well combined and no pockets of dry flour or egg remain.

Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  If the cake is browning too quickly, don’t be afraid to cover it loosely with foil.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Serve in slices with butter thick enough to leave teeth marks when you bite into it!

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Angie Schneider said...

It looks fantastic! I MUST get some mulberries to make this tea cake!

Snowy said...

I love teacakes and this sounds and looks good. Only other time I've heard of mulberries, is for the icing on Tottenham cake to give it its colour. Haven't seen them for sale.

'Tottenham cake is a sponge traybake cake, originally baked by Tottenham Quakers and covered either in pink icing (originally made from mulberries from the garden of the Tottenham Quaker House) or jam, often sprinkled with dessicated coconut then cut into squares'

Cakelaw said...

Yum - this fruit loaf looks and sounds delicious. Not sure I could get dried mulberries, but I think any dried fruit would be just fine.

Stuart Vettese said...

I need to source me some mulberries - sound and looks like a luverly cake!

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

I've never seen mulberries either. They sound like an interesting find..... The cake sounds delicious..... wonder what else you could do with them?!

Tom Hedison said...

Looks ace

Choclette Blogger said...

Ooh yes, I haven't made a tea loaf in far too long. I adore fresh mulberries and although I've seen dried white mulberries, I've never seen the black ones.

E said...

This post gave me nostalgic feelings, because I grew up with a giant mulberry tree in my back garden. It grew right next to the compost heap, and every summer we'd pick literally BUCKETS of mulberries. We'd eat them as they were or in fruit salad, and give away some to friends. Mum would make endless jars of mulberry jam. I hadn't caught the cooking bug back then, and now how I long for that tree. Oh the mulberry pies and cakes I would make! I never see fresh mulberries in the shops, because if I remember correctly they are extremely delicate and don't have a long shelf life at all. Dried mulberries are a really great idea, I wish my supermarket had them. I bet they made your cake extra delicious! :)

Maggie said...

That's a great idea to include these in a fruit tea loaf - we too are fans of what we here call Brack Bread which is similar to your recipe.