When it's cold and grey, and a little miserable outside, nothing lifts my spirits like a good baking session. I pop the radio on, tie my hair up and don my pinny to while away a few hours in the kitchen. This recipe is great because not only is it easy to bake in the first place (add a few tweaks) but it delivers on taste too, and slathered with a little butter is enough to brighten even the grey-est of moods. The name Bara comes from the Welsh word for bread, as it is traditionally baked in a loaf tin. And I first fell in love with this Welsh delicacy aged 7, on a school trip to a local open air museum with it's very own Victorian PopTy (Bakery). It was love at first bite.
The lazy girl label comes from tweaking a few ingredients to what you might have in your cupboard already, so when the moment takes you, this scrummy fruit loaf can be rustled up at the drop of a hat. The usual self-raising wholemeal has been substituted for white self-raising, soft brown sugar for standard caster sugar, and rather than worrying about having fresh lemons in your kitchen, a spoonful of squeezy Jif lemon leftover from pancake day will suffice. I apologise in advance to any Welsh ladies' relatives who may be turning in their graves at my meddling with such a classic recipe. I mean no offence. I just love cake, and sometimes I need it...like right now!!
You will need:
300g Dried Mixed Fruit.
400ml hot tea (black)
350g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1tsp lemon juice
100g caster sugar
If you're not champing at the bit for a cake fix and can wait a few hours then, steeping the fruit in hot tea and leaving it to soak overnight is ideal. If you really can't wait that long, then simply a couple of hours will be enough but, the cake won't be as moist.
The rest is simply the work of moments. First things first, preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180c. Add the rest of the ingredients together, in a large mixing bowl. Then draining with a slotted spoon add the soaked mixed fruit, making sure to keep the tea to add in a second.
Slowly begin to mix everything together, adding the reserved cold tea bit by bit, until the mix loosely drops from the spoon. (Don't worry if you use it all. This is sometimes not necessary.)
Pour the mixture into a loaf tin and bake in the oven for 45-55 mins.
This scrumptious fruit loaf is best served warm, slathered in butter and with a good strong cup of tea to wash it all down.
Yum! You know where to find me on St David's Day.