Bara Brith (Speckled Bread)

Bara Brith (Speckled Bread)

A traditional Welsh fruitcake – recipes get handed down from generation to generation.  The original fat-less fruit cake is still moist.  It is traditionally served with a good cup of tea and a dairy spread such as butter, but low-fat cream cheese is equally lovely and not as high in fat.

Serves: 12

Dietary: vegetarian, milk-free, nut-free

Contains: eggs, wheat, gluten (flour),

May contain: Sulphites (dried fruit)

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus overnight soaking

Cooking time: 1½ hours



2 ¼ cups (340 g) mixed, dried fruit

400 ml hot, strong black tea

2 medium eggs, beaten

2 cups (300 g) white self-raising flour

1 cup (150 g) wholemeal self-raising flour

2 tsp mixed spice



  1. Pour hot tea over dried fruit, cover and leave for several hours. Preferably overnight.
  2. Grease and line a 1 kg loaf tin. Pre-heat oven to 170ºC/150oC Fan/325oF/Gas Mark 3.
  3. Mix beaten egg into fruit, and then sift in dry ingredients.
  4. Some wholemeal bran will be left in the sieve when sifting wholemeal flour. Tip this in once all the flour has gone through.

NB The sifting is to incorporate air into the mixture, not remove the flour’s bran.

  1. Stir to mix.
  2. Pour into the prepared loaf tin.
  3. Bake for 1½ hours. Leave to cool before serving.  You can shorten the cooking time to 1 ¼ by covering it with tin foil before baking in the oven.


 This recipe has been donated by Catherine McNeill



Per serving: 12 slices
Total calories: 221 kcal
Fat:  1.6 g
Saturated Fat:  0.3 g
Carbohydrate: 45 g
Total sugar: 19 g
Fibre:  1.7 g
Protein:  5.7 g
Salt:  0.41 g



  • This version of Bara Brith keeps to the tradition of being made with no fat and incorporates some wholemeal flour to increase the fibre content.
  • The dried fruit and wholemeal flour make this recipe a source of several minerals, including potassium, calcium, phosphorus, manganese and copper. These minerals are needed to aid various functions, including blood pressure, blood cell and bone health.
  • This recipe is low in fat, saturated fat and contains no added sugar. Its natural sweetness comes from the sugars naturally occurring within the dried fruit.



  • No mixed spice? Use a combination of those that you do have – cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves, for example.
  • Mixed fruit can be a combination of sultanas, currants or raisins – an excellent recipe for using up ends of packets from the cupboard!
  • You could also add some orange or lemon peel to provide a citrus taste.
  • Traditionally butter is spread on top, but you can use a reduced butter spread, margarine or cream cheese to keep the fat and saturated fat down.