It’s nearly Halloween, which means the kids are starting to get excited about dressing up in their costumes, trick or treating and apple bobbing. Another tradition we always associate Halloween with is the Barmbrack. Barmbrack is essentially an Irish tea cake that has become an essential part of Halloween. We couldn’t be without Barmbrack at this time of year!
Delicious served buttered with a cup of tea, a Barmbrack holds a surprise for the unsuspecting. Custom has it that a Barmbrack should contain objects, each of which has its own meaning for those who find it in their slice. We’ve always included a ring and coin in the cake but in the past, a pea and a stick would also have been used. Allegedly, the person who gets the ring will marry within the year, conversely, the recipient of the pea won’t marry within the year whilst the person with the stick will have an unhappy marriage. Lastly, the lucky coin brings wealth.
Making the Barmbrack is something you can easily get the kids involved too. They’ll love weighing out the ingredients, sieving flour, munching on the sultanas and giving everything a really good mix.
What You’ll Need
- Cold tea – 800g
- Brown sugar – 500g
- Sultanas – 500g
- Raisins – 500g
- Three eggs
- Ground mixed spice – 3tps
- Plain flour – 680g
- Baking powder – 3tsp
- A ring (maybe not an engagement or wedding one!)
- A coin (you might want to make sure you have enough items for one of each child!)
- Baking parchments to line the cake tin and wrap the ring and coins
- Make a couple of cups of tea that are nice and strong, 800mls to be exact! Then, allow it to cool right down.
- Put the raisins, sultanas and sugar in a large mixing bowl and add the tea, mixing well.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a cool place overnight to allow the fruit to soak. We left ours to soak for two days this year and it turned out great!
- When you are ready to make the cake, preheat the oven to 150C and double line a 24cm cake tin (ideally spring-formed) with baking parchment.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into the bowl containing the fruit – don’t remove the remaining tea – and fold in.
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then add to the cake mixture and mix in well.
- Add the coin and ring if you wish and mix these in.
- Pour the mixture into the tin and place into the oven.
- Bake for between two and a half and three hours. This really depends on your oven.
- After two and a half hours or so check if it’s cooked by pushing a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, then it is cooked! If not, pop it back in the oven for another short while. Basically we don’t want to dry it out or burn it.
- Allow the Barmbrack to cool in the tin.
There you have it! Your own, homemade Barmbrack. If you fancy baking something a little sweeter, be sure to check out these spooky cupcakes!