Apple fruity tea loaf – and spring in the garden

It has been a lovely easter weekend in Edinburgh – warm enough for us to sit out in t-shirts……. I spent some time with ‘She is Fierce: Brave, Bold and Beautiful Poems by Women’ – an anthology collated by Ana Sampson. It contains poems by very diverse poets, ancient and modern, names I know and ones completely new to me. It’s a lovely book and I’m delighted with it.

Mr McGregor has been getting the veg patch ready for this year’s crop, and there are things busily germinating in the greenhouse. The tulips are in full bloom and the pear tree is full of blossom.

My Christmas cactus has a few flowers – how does it know it is easter?


I baked some hot cross buns (I left them in the oven a little too long but we have eaten them anyway) and another sourdough loaf.

Mr McGregor is not that keen on fruity Tea Loaves but I love them. Although I’m sure I could quite easily demolish a whole cake, that would seem a little unwise so I don’t often make them. This week it was my turn to provide baked goods for my laboratory meeting, so I was able to try the recipe out on my team. They approved, so here’s the recipe. We agreed it is mostly fruit, and therefore quite healthy (probably). I adapted the recipe from a Waitrose Food Magazine (but used only 1/3 of the sugar). You’ll need to allow time for the dried fruit to soak in the tea –  ideally start the night before you want to bake this.

Apple Fruity Tea Loaf (pdf Apple Fruity Tea Loaf )

200g mixed dried fruit

200ml strong English Breakfast Tea (freshly made, teabag left in)

30g butter, meltedtea loaf 1

175g self raising flour

50g demerara sugar

1 teaspoon mixed spice

85g ground almonds

1 apple – half grated and half cut into slices

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons of milk


  1. Make the tea and put the fruit in to soak (leave the teabag in). Leave for a minimum of 4 hours or pop it into the fridge overnight
  2. Preheat oven to 160/150 fan/gas 3. Grease and line a loaf tin
  3. Strain the fruit and throw the teabag away – keep the tea though
  4. Mix flour, ground almonds, sugar and mixed spice together in a mixing bowl
  5. Mix in the melted butter, soaked fruit, grated apple, egg, milk and 2 tablespoons of the reserved tea
  6. Spoon the thick batter into the loaf tin
  7. Dip the apple slices into the rest of the tea and then lay on the top of the cake, pushing them down into the batter a little
  8. Pop into the oven for 90 minutes – cover with foil for the last 20-30 mins to prevent the top catching. It is cooked when a skewer does out pretty much clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning onto a rack

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