Welsh Cake with Cheese

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I’ve had a bit of a baking drought for the past few months. There have been minimal cakes in my life, and too many store-bought biscuits (suitably dunked in tea of course- how did I not know about this before?!). I’m finally settled into my new flat, and a bit of baking is naturally in order. There’s nothing that says home like cake-baking.

Plus, I’ve recently been introduced to the concept of fruitcake and cheese. Wait! Bear with me here. Before you decide this is clearly a terrible idea, think about fruit and cheese for a minute . . . Fruit and cheese are a classic combination that’s widely accept as delicious.

So why not fruit cake and cheese? As long as the fruitcake isn’t too sickly sweet of course. This sort of situation and combination calls for specific types of cheese, and a specific cake.

You just need to make sure you bake a Bara Brith (a sort of welsh tea cake), and find the strongest, crunchiest cheddar cheese you can find.

This cake is apparently so classically Welsh so along with recipes for leeks and Welsh Rarebit, it must be serious! The recipe is nicely straight forward, and perfect for a Sunday afternoon watching the rain race down the window, drinking marathon cups of tea.

Recipe for Bara Brith

  • 450g (1lb) mixed dried fruit
  • 300ml (1/2 pint) tea
  • 2 tbsp marmalade
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 450g (1lb) self-raising flour
  • honey to glaze

Soak the fruit overnight in the tea.

Next day, mix the marmalade, egg, sugar, spice and flour into the tea and fruit. Spoon into a greased 900g (1lb) loaf tin and bake in a warm oven (gas 3, 325ºF, 170ºC) for one and three quarter hours or until the centre is cooked through. Check from time to time that the top doesn’t brown too much, and cover with a sheet of foil or move down a shelf in the oven if necessary.
Once cooked, leave the Bara Brith to stand for 5 minutes, then tip out of the tin on to a cooling tray. Using a pastry brush, glaze the top with honey.
Serve sliced with salted butter and some tasty farmhouse Cheddar. Store in an airtight tin.

N.B. My cake only took 1 hour to cook, and used a lot less flour (these are probably related). The dough should be stiff, but not dry.

Plus, it’s the perfect accompaniment for your morning commute on the tube.


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