Halfway between a tea loaf and soda bread, this anytime treat suits a chilly April morning or a warm spring afternoon. Aside from soaking the fruit overnight, you can throw this together in a matter of minutes and the loaf will keep well for several days. It’s also excellent toasted and spread liberally with butter. Earl Grey tea lends a citrussy note, but you can use your usual favourite tea, just be sure to make a strong tea liquor. If you’re not using Earl Grey tea, adding the zest of half a lemon or orange tastes great too, though too much will overpower the delicate tea and honey flavours. April 21 is National Tea Day; what better reason to get baking and enjoy a slice with a cup of tea! 

Makes about 10 - 12 servings.      Hands on time:  20 minutes      Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes + overnight soaking


550ml             Strong Earl Grey tea
400g               Dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants, chopped apricots etc.)
2                     Eggs, beaten
150g + 2tbsp  Honey
450g               Wholemeal spelt (or wheat) flour
1.5tsp             Bicarbonate of soda

Tip:  The fruit needs a long soak to absorb the tea so do this the night before you want to bake the loaf.


1.     Make a strong tea liquor using 600ml of boiling water and four Earl Grey tea bags or four teaspoons of loose tea. The liquid volume will reduce by about 50ml after removing the teabags or leaves. 

2.      Soak the fruit overnight in the tea.

3.      Preheat oven to 190°C or 170°C Fan and line a 2lb loaf tin (approx. 10 x 20cm). 

4.      In a large bowl, stir the honey and eggs into the soaked fruit.

5.     Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda and add to the fruit mixture. Quickly fold everything together until no patches of flour remain and then scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.

6.     Bake for between 75 and 80 minutes in total, or until a skewer comes out free of any uncooked batter. After 45 minutes, cover the top of the loaf with foil to prevent burning. When the loaf is almost cooked, brush the top generously with 2 tablespoons of runny or slightly warmed honey, returning to the oven (uncovered) for the final 5–10 minutes of cooking. 

7.      Leave to cool in the tin before slicing and serving plain or spread with butter.