Being half-Welsh I was pretty much brought up on Bara Brith which is made using dried fruits and cold tea so I though I would try making a slightly more exotic version. You can buy chai teabags in most supermarkets but if you can't find any then use double the amount of Earl Grey teabags and add extra spices - cardamom, ginger, cloves and cinnamon work a treat. This makes enough for two cakes and they keep for about two weeks without icing. They also freeze really well.. The day I made this my little niece was visiting who is learning to talk, as she scoffed her way through her third piece she decided that my new name was forever more to be: "Hazel Cake", yep I'm totally down with that moniker, and what's even better is I've definitely secured my place as her favourite auntie (which was basically my reason for making the cake in the first place).
You'll need: (makes 2 x 2lb loaf tins)
- 500g dried mixed fruit
- 400g soft light brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 6 crushed cardamom pods (inner seed only)
- 600ml boiling water
- 6 chai teabags
- 2 eggs
- 500g self raising flour
- 300g cream cheese
- 2 tblsp icing sugar
- 150g shelled pistachio nuts
- The day before you make your cake you need to soak your dried fruit. Put your teabags in your boiled water and leave to infuse for about 30 minutes. Combine your dried fruit, sugar, ginger and cardamom in a bowl then pour over your stewed tea (minus the tea bags) and stir well. Leave overnight.
- The following day beat your eggs and stir into your fruit mixture along with the flour and mix well. Line your loaf tins with tin foil (or greased baking parchment) and pour in your cake mixture so its about 3/4 of the way full. Put in the middle of an oven preheated to 180C and cook for about 1 1/4 hours or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle. If the top is starting to burn and the cake isn't ready just cover the top with foil and continue to cook. Once done leave to cool inside the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely.
- Make your icing by beating the icing sugar into the cream cheese. When the cakes are cold spoon the mixture over and cover with crushed pistachios and have a big slice with a nice cup of tea.