This fat free moist tea loaf is quite possibly the easiest cake you will ever make. Seriously, you just soak the fruit overnight. The next morning stir in a beaten egg and flour and that's it. In the oven. Done. I make this Tea Loaf about once a week as it's so handy. I love the fact that after soaking the fruit, I can make it in just 5 minutes! Like all dried fruit cakes, it also keeps well for several weeks, although it never lasts that long in my house.
Compared to other cakes and even other fruit cakes, it also contains a low amount of sugar at 50g for the entire cake. This works out around just 1 teaspoon per slice. It is also a Fat Free Tea Loaf as the recipe doesn't contain any butter or other fats. This makes it an ideal snack for after school or added to lunch boxes. For more ideas on packed lunches, click here.
What is a Tea Loaf?
A tea loaf is a traditional British fruit cake, sometimes also called Irish Tea Loaf. It's made with dried mixed fruit such as sultanas, raisins and candied peel and moistened with black tea. I think this is why we consider it a traditional British cake. We do all love our tea! Some recipes will call for Earl Grey, which will give it a distinct flavour, but any black tea will do. Just use your usual brew.
The dried fruit is soaked in the tea overnight. This makes the cake nice and moist and plumps up the fruit. Just pour over enough tea to cover the fruit. I've given a guide in the recipe of 150ml of tea, but actually I never measure it. You also don't need to pour off any of the tea that remains the next morning. The cake will cook for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. If it is very moist, it may need a little longer. You will know if the cake is cooked properly by sticking a fork into the middle of your cake. If the fork comes out clean, your tea loaf is cooked. Traditionally, a fruit tea loaf like this would be served for Afternoon tea, with, you guessed it, a nice cup of tea.
Variation on a Tea Loaf
If you want to spice up your tea loaf, you can add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or All Spice. You can also add some chopped nuts or even glace cherries for a glace cherry loaf cake. I've kept this recipe simple as I like the fact that after soaking the fruit, I can make it in 5 minutes.
You'll need a 2lb loaf tin and loaf tin liner. I have made this cake so many times that I would say this is a great investment. Making your own cakes is cheaper than buying from a shop and also avoids the plastic. If you don't have loaf tin liners, you can use grease proof paper, but not foil. Foil conducts heat and will make the outside of your fruit cake quite dry. This tea loaf recipe will make 10 - 12 servings.
The dried mixed fruit, tea and sugar can all be bought Fairtrade which makes a big difference to the farmers who grow the produce. Because it can be stored for several weeks, you're unlikely to waste any so it makes a great standby. Baking your own Tea Loaf as opposed to buying one from a shop, also means less packaging, which is another win!
How to store Tea Loaf
A Tea Loaf will keep very well stored in an airtight container in your cupboard for about 2-3 weeks. If it starts to go a little dry, you can spread it with butter. It also freezes well. To freeze it, wrap it up well to prevent freezer burn. It will keep for about 6 months. De-frost your tea loaf at room temperature for about 4 hours.
The Easiest Fat Free Moist Tea Loaf
- 2lb tin loaf
- 2lb tin loaf liner
- 380 g dried mixed fruit Fairtrade
- 50 g golden caster sugar Fairtrade
- 1 egg organic, large, beaten
- 225 g self-raising flour organic
- 150 ml hot tea traditional black tea, Fairtrade,
- Place the dried mixed fruit & sugar in a large bowl and pour over enough hot tea to just about cover the fruit. Give it a quick stir to dissolve the sugar, cover with a plate and leave overnight.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/340°F/gas mark 3. Add the beaten egg and sieve in the flour. Fold the mixture together with a spoon until it is all mixed in.
- Transfer the mixture to a standard 2lb loaf tin, lined with a standard 2lb loaf tin liner. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 1 hour and 10 minutes. To test if it's ready, insert a fork into the middle of the cake, if the fork is clean - ie no mixture is stuck to it, it is cooked through. You may need an extra 5 minutes.
- Leave it on a wire rack to cool. Cut into slices to serve. It's also lovely spread with butter.