Mamgu’s bara brith

by Beca Lyne-Pirkis

A traditional Welsh fruit cake from Beca Lyne-Pirkis

This is a family recipe handed down to me by my aunty Heulwen. It was my grandmother’s recipe, or ‘mamgu’s’ (mam-ghee’s) as we say in Wales. There are two types of bara brith; the yeasted dough version, and this boiled fruit cake version. I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite, however a slice of this version with salted butter and a cup of tea is heaven.

Bara brith freezes well—wrap it first in greaseproof paper and then place it in a large sandwich bag or Tupperware box. Alternatively, keep it in an airtight tin.


55g soft butter
115g brown sugar
225g mixed dried fruit
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
145ml strong tea (use 2-3 tea bags)
1 egg, beaten
225g self-raising flour
¼ tsp mixed spice


Preheat the oven to 130C and grease and line a 450g loaf tin.

Place the butter, sugar and fruit in a mixing bowl and add the bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt. Mix in the strong tea and stir well.

Add the beaten egg, then fold in the flour and mixed spice. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and cook for 1 hour and 10 mins. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Serve simply with salted butter or with some blue cheese and a drizzle of honey, or you can glaze the finished loaf with some marmalade and toasted seeds and nuts.

Recipe: Beca Lyne-Pirkis