A cup of tea and a slice of cake

As far as the English frame of mind is concerned, nothing goes better with a good book (in fact what is the ultimate accompaniment or panacea to everything) than ‘a nice cup of tea’.  This does not mean a bog standard tea bag dunked into a mug of boiling water; it should be some top quality loose-leaf tea spooned into a pre-warmed teapot, over which freshly boiled water is poured, and the infusion left to brew for four or five minutes.  When ready pour through a tea strainer into a cup.  Add milk and sugar to taste and this hot beverage will bear no resemblance to its common, convenience cousin.

Having made such a pot recently, and finding myself with leftover liquid in the pot, I made the following tea bread:


  • 175g chopped dates
  • 50g raisins
  • 500g mixed dried fruit (ring the changes: currants, sultanas, dried cherries, dried cranberries, whatever you fancy)
  • 200 ml hot strained tea
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp marmalade
  • 175g muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • Juice and rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 450g self raising flour
  • 1 medium free range egg


  • Line 2 x 1 lb loaf tins
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350ºF, gas mark 4)
  • Combine the dried fruit, marmalade, sugar, lemon and spices with the hot tea and leave covered for a minimum of two hours
  • When ready, beat in the egg and flour, pour into the baking tins and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours

When cool serve in generous slices, buttered or not, depending on your preference.

4 comments on “A cup of tea and a slice of cake

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