Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Irish Tea Cake – Was this Barmbrack Wack?

Every year I try to post at least one Irish recipe, and this time around I decided to do something a little out of the ordinary, and try my hand at Barmbrack. I love corned beef and cabbage as much as the next guy, but you can only film it so many different ways. Anyway, the thought of a nice, moist, dense, fruity tea cake for breakfast, with a cup of hot, black tea, sounded just about perfect, and so I started researching this ancient loaf…and researching…and researching, until I had seen and read so many recipes that I didn’t know which direction to go.

There are a huge variety of styles, from light, yeast-raised versions, to super-dense ones, similar to the often-maligned holiday fruitcake. So, I decided to just wing it, and use the force, which usually works out well, but this time, not so much. This is traditionally a Halloween treat, and my experience was equal parts trick and treat.

I’m hearing from my Irish friends on YouTube that I should have probably used baking soda, plus more tea to get a little more rise. They also say that using half wholegrain flour will inhibit the verticality as well. Notwithstanding my results, at the very least, I’ve hopefully made some of you aware of barmbrack, and maybe you’ll give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one 9” x 5” loaf pan:
2 cups warm black tea
1⁄2 cup golden raisins
1⁄2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried currants
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole grain flour (I’m told this makes the loaf a lot heavier, so maybe use all regular flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I’m told I should’ve probably added a teaspoon of baking soda)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1⁄4 cup milk
2 tablespoons reserved black tea
1 tablespoon Irish whiskey or any whiskey
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons melted butter
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7 comments:

Unknown said...

i just sent you a comment about my dad being in the cia... i mean the culinary cia. but im not sure which one i clicked!

Madoka Swoverland said...

I really enjoy this not-so-perfect video!! I'm kinda happy even my favorite respected Chef John puzzles sometimes. ;))

Sherry Hurwitz said...

Hey, if we never tried anything new, it'd be a boring cooking/baking world! And thanks for being brave enough to publish your sort-of failure. And besides, there's a bonus in that - laughter...

me me said...

Maybe a little baking powder and or Soda?

me me said...

Also I would add some walnuts too.

Douglas Schmidt said...

Hey, thanks for the recipe, I'll try tonight. Lol'd with the video as well :D
How much butter did you add? It's missing on the recipe. Looks like 2 or 3 spoons.

As always, thanks :)

Unknown said...

CJ: I think you missed the cayenne :)