How to make Irish Barmbrack Bread

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Irish Barmbrack Tea loaf recipe

The traditional Irish Barmbrack is the ultimate spiced Cinnamon raisin bread. A real feel good winter warmer to get you in the festive spirit! My favourite way to eat it ? Sliced, toasted and buttered…unbelievably delicious!

Barmbrack Tea Bread recipe

What is Barmbrack ?

Barmbrack is sweeter than bread but not as rich as the traditional Christmas fruit Cake. Known in Gaelic as ‘báirín breac’ meaning speckled loaf, it is traditionally served all year round in Ireland but is particularly popular around Halloween time.

Barmbrack Tea Bread recipe

Why has it become a Halloween tradition in Ireland?

Back in the day, Halloween coincided with the last Harvest. It was the time fruits would be gathered for Christmas cakes, the cakes were a wonderful way to preserve the fruits over a longer period. The Barmbrack was a taster bread, a small sampling of the harvest…not as rich as Christmas cake, but offered as a sneak taste of what was to come over the festive period. The harvest coinciding with All Hallows Eve and the introduction of the Barmbrack bread, opened the door for the emergence of a game of Fortune or Misfortune… depending on the outcome! Traditionally a token of some sort was hidden within the loaf, which was meant to prophesise the future of the recipient.

For example, if you find:

A Ring You will marry within the year

A Pea You will remain single

A Stick Doomed to an Unhappy Marriage

A Piece of Cloth Poverty lies ahead

A Holy Medal or Cross The sign you would become a Priest or Nun

A Coin Good fortune and Riches await you!

Fingers crossed for the Coin!

How to make a Barmbrack Loaf

The Basics

  • The day before soak the Raisins in the cold tea overnight
  • The next day add the egg and sugar to the Soaking Raisins, stir
  • Add the flour, Cinnamon & Baking powder, stir
  • Place the batter in a loaf tin, bake for 50 minutes


Raisins As well as raisins, you could add Sultanas, dried currants.

Cold Tea I make tea by pouring hot water over a tea bag, letting it steep for a few minutes. I then allow it to go cold before pouring over the Raisins. Want a boozy Barmbrack ? Replace 50mls of the tea with 50 mls of Whisky.

Granulated Sugar You can Substitute for brown Sugar, just be aware the texture of the cake will be altered….but still delicious.

Plain Flour Be sure to sift into the batter stirring well until combined

Egg Beat well before adding

Baking Powder 2 level teaspoons

Cinnamon You could substitute for mixed spice

Each Step in Pictures (Video at the end)

Barmbrack Tea Bread recipe
Barmbrack Tea Bread recipe
Store in an airtight container, enjoy within 1 week

Tools Used

2 Lb Loaf Tin, Glass Jug, Loaf tin Liners

Give it a try and let me know how you got on in the Comments, or tag me on Instagram, I would love to see your creations

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Irish Barmbrack Loaf

Prep Time1 day 10 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 330 g Raisins
  • 300 mls Cold Tea
  • 100 g Granulated Sugar
  • 230 g Plain flour
  • 1 Egg Beaten
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon


  • The day before place 330g of Raisins in a bowl, pour 300mls of Cold Tea on top, Stir, make sure the Raisins are completely submerged. Cover with a tea towel & leave to soak for 24 hours
  • The following day Preheat the oven to 170°c
  • Add the Egg and Sugar to the Raisins( don't pour the tea out) stir well.
  • Sieve in the flour. Add the Cinnamon and Baking Powder, stir well.
  • Pour the batter into a lined loaf tin
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes
  • Allow to cool, store in a Tupperware box, enjoy within 1 week.



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  1. Laura November 5, 2022
    • Kelly November 5, 2022
  2. Carolyn November 6, 2022
    • Kelly November 7, 2022

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