Monday, 23 April 2012

Baking for Beginners: Yorkshire Brack

Brack is a sort of cross between a rich fruit cake and a teacake. 'Brack' simply refers to a cake made without fat, and it's incredibly simple to make. Plumped-up dried fruits are mixed with flour, sugar and egg, then baked in a loaf tin to create a delicious tea-time treat.

Play around with the type of tea to give a different flavour to the finished brack. Earl Grey will give a more herby, floral taste, while assam will give you a malted loaf, and chai tea a nicely spiced one. I've used Yorkshire tea, which is frankly the best tea around - the 'hard water' one is invaluable for making a decent brew if you live in London.

Yorkshire Brack

You will need:

  • 400g dried fruit (I used currants because they are mega cheap in Sainsbury's, but you can mix it up)
  • 150ml black tea
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, beaten
Make it!
  1. Soak the dried fruit in the tea overnight in a covered bowl. Or, if you're short of time, boil it all up in a saucepan for around 15 minutes until the fruit plumps up.
  2. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a loaf tin with baking paper. 
  3. Drain the fruit and mix in the flour, sugar, nutmeg and egg. If the mixture looks dry or sawdusty, add another half a beaten egg until it comes together.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 1hr, until a skewer inserted into it comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Eat it warm, spread with butter or topped with a slice of cheese.

23 comments:

  1. Wow! Cake and tea all in one... and without any fat it's healthy too!!! I might just have to try it out this week!

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  2. I'm yorkshire born and i've never heard of it but anything that mixes tea, fruit and cake is most definitely a winner.

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  3. Helen - let us know how it goes! Apparently you can soak the fruit in whisky, but if you're trying to be healthy then probably best stick to tea.

    Anonymous - it's definitely a Yorkshire thing but maybe it goes by different names? Just spotted it on the Yorkshire Pantry website - ooh, they do a ginger brack which I'm tempted to bake next...

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  4. Yum!!! I'm going to have to try that. I don't know if I can easily find currants but I can find raisins and dried apricots easily. Then I'll have to find good tea. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Raisins and apricots sound excellent. Are you in America? I imagine Yorkshire tea is tricky to find...

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  5. Can't help but think that the Yorkies have stolen this from the Welsh. It's incredibly similar to Bara Brith. Hmmm... Still, bloomin' delish tho! ♡

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    1. Yes, and very similar to Barm Brack in Ireland, which is where I first came across it! I suspect there are endless regional variations to this one.

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  6. Mixing this up as we speak, looks very dry - should it look like sawdust? Is 1 egg enough? Ta!

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    1. Hi Helen,

      I fear Sara might be on a train so I'm going to try and help despite having never made this and having no idea how your mix is looking! If you think it looks too dry, I'd suggest adding a little milk. Do it gradually until you've got a consistency that you're happy with - no one wants a dry cake, but it looks like this one is quite heavy set.

      Let us know how it turns out!

      Sian

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    2. Thanks Sian - I discarded the tea mixture that I soaked my fruit in. Figured that maybe I should have kept it, so bunged some more in the mix. It's now baking. Fingers crossed in an hour's time it will come out luverly!

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    3. Happy to help! (If indeed I have, might have just buggered your cake up.) We always go with our instincts - sometimes we follow a much used recipe to the letter and it doesn't seem quite right! Look forward to hearing how it turns out!

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    4. Sorry Helen, just saw this! I should have said you may need 1.5 eggs if they're small, like mine were. One large egg plus sufficiently plumped fruit should be enough moisture, but I add another half a beaten egg if it looks like sawdust.

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    5. Deep joy...cake is great success!! With the tea mixture in the loaf, it is seriously om, nom, nom time! Thanks for your help ladies!

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  7. I made this an hour or so ago, and I too doubted the 1 egg and no other liquid, but yaaay,(two buttered slices later) it's very yummalicious.

    I deleted my last comment because I made a spelling mistake.

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  8. Right ladies, recipe amended! Thanks for your comments. Hopefully that'll put an end to any dry brack.

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  9. I am SO using this for my any-forms-of-bovine-allergic nephew! Poor wee bugger never gets a cake, this is brilliant!

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    1. Good stuff, Anonymous! Hope he enjoys it.

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  10. I just eating mine , I added abit of tea to loosen the mixture.Its yummy !

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  11. Don't know if any one will read this as it is now September my cake looks wonderful but is very very moist I followed Ade's recipe of the T.V. programe he said bake at number 2 but after one and a harf hours still wet and soft on top very soft I turned oven up to 4 took a good 2 ours and longer any advice please.

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    1. Ade actually said a medium oven for an hour. .. I just watched it as grandson is gonna make it but the Web site for ingredients is unavailable. . I wanted to check how much fruit cos the writing on tv looked like 959, and I just thought that's rather alot of fruit. ..Looking closer it looks like 454 so will stick to about that. ... and that's not my bad eye sight. . Lol my grandson thought the same. ... xx

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  12. I thought at a glance it said 959 fruit as well and when I started to weigh it out stopped at 550 as that looked masses!. I soaked from morning til late afternoon. I added more water to cover the fruit and didn't get rid of the small amount of excess when soak over and used 2 small eggs. Used less sugar as the fruit is very sweet and just added flour until the mix looked ok. This ended up making 2 loaf tins and was absolutely delicious. Really moist but firm. What a great recipe and so easy!

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  13. I added a little tot of whiskey yum

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  14. lovely and the older it is the tastier it becomes.

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