Barmbrack | Irish Speckled Loaf Cake

Barmbrack is the Irish version of the Welsh Bara Brith. This speckled loaf cake is traditionally served on Halloween, but I think it will make for a great Christmas cake. So if you have not yet made yours, here is a recipe for you to use.

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Last month I received a voucher from Exclusive Books. At the same time, I was also sent the latest Jack Reacher novel to review. As I had not yet read the previous one, I used the voucher to purchase it online. They offer a click and collect service which claims a 48 hour delivery time to the store of my choice. I ordered the book on the Monday and listed my work number on the order. This meant that if the book arrived while I was overseas they would not be trying to call me on my cell phone which would be switched off. The book had not arrived by the time we left and when we got back from England I asked my staff if the store had contacted me. As they had not done so I went into the store and spoke to a young gentleman.

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I explained that I had ordered a book and asked him to check if it was there. And I told him that no-one had called me, and I did not have an SMS notification from the online store as I had been overseas. He could not find the book and promised to call me when he located it. He was true to his word and called back to say he had found the book. The next day I returned, dealt with a new person and explained the entire situation. She returned with the book and told me I had been called twice and was unavailable. I told her it was impossible that anyone had actually called as our phone is answered 24 hours a day. This was met with extreme rudeness which left a bad taste in my mouth. Certainly not the way to deal with customers.


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5 from 1 vote


This speckled loaf cake is traditionally served on Halloween.
Recipe Category: Baking
All Rights Reserved: An original recipe from Lavender and Lime


  • 1 tea bag any flavour of your choice
  • 250 mls boiling water
  • 375 g dried fruit cake mix
  • 50 mls whisky
  • 225 g flour
  • 10 mls baking powder
  • 125 g coconut sugar
  • 2.5 mls mixed spice
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


  • Place the tea bag into a mixing bowl and pour the water over
  • Leave to steep for 5 minutes before removing the tea bag
  • Leave to cool before adding the dried fruit mix and whisky
  • Stir to combine, cover and set aside for at least 12 hours *
  • Preheat the oven to 170° Celsius
  • Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl
  • Stir to combine and then make a well in the centre
  • Pour in the egg and the liquid from the dried fruit and mix in using a spatula
  • Tip in the fruit and mix until completely combined
  • Pour the batter into a lined loaf tin and flatten the top as best you can
  • Place into the oven and bake for 70 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack
  • Leave to cool completely before slicing
  • Serve as is, or with a good slather of butter, or top with your favourite jam


* the longer you leave the fruit to steep, the better. I left mine for a week
Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime December 23:

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12 thoughts on “Barmbrack | Irish Speckled Loaf Cake

  1. Rudeness to customers seems to be the name of the game locally, Tandy. I must say though, that I had excellent service at Edgars this weekend when I needed to exchange a pair of trousers that was a bit to tight. A welcome change from the usual sullenness I seem to experience. I never seem to have bad service in the UK. This recipe looks delicious.

    1. Exclusive Books seem to be good at this bad service. It’s not the first time I’ve experienced this. And it’s one of the reasons I don’t buy many books from them.

  2. this looks delish tandy. yes i really detest bad customer service! nothing worse than being lied to by a business employee. have a fab festive season tandy! cheers S x

  3. That looks delicious! Who knew you could buy a bag of fruitcake mix??? I remember the first time I needed the dried fruits to make Ina Garten’s fruitcake cookies, I was still in L.A. at the time and I looked in every grocery store trying to find dried fruit. I think I finally found it at the candy & nut stall at the Farmer’s Market.

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