My Grandmother's Fat Free English Tea Loaf - Bread

Total Time
Prep 12 hrs
Cook 1 hr

This is my grandmother's recipe which I have adapted slightly - my Mum also makes this regularly! There is no fat, butter or oil in this lovely, moist Tea Bread, making it a treat that can be enjoyed on a regular basis. Feel free to use your favourite tea, I often make this with Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong. Also make sure that the fruit soaks for at least 12 hours - that's what plumps up the fruit and keeps this Tea Bread so moist. I have never felt the need to add spices, the taste of the tea and the fruit is tasty enough. This makes two loaves - they keep well in a tin or can be frozen with great success.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. You will need two 1 lb (450 g) loaf tins (6 x 4 x 2 1/2 inches), the bases lined with greaseproof paper (parchment).
  2. The evening before you want to bake these loaves, place all the fruits, including the candied peel, in a bowl, then dissolve the sugar in the hot tea, pour this over the fruits, cover the bowl and leave it overnight.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F/170°C.
  4. Beat the egg and add the milk.
  5. Add the beaten egg & milk mixture to the bowl containing the fruits. Then sift in the flour, and mix them together well.
  6. Now divide the mixture between the prepared loaf tins and bake them in the centre of the oven for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until they feel springy in the centre.
  7. Then straight away, loosen them with a palette knife and turn them out on to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Store in an airtight tin or cover with extra greaseproof paper and freeze. (For up to 3 months).
  9. These are great sliced, toasted and served with butter as a tea-time snack.


Most Helpful

WOW, this fruit loaf is amazing! It is soft in the centre, crunchy on top and soooooo goood! Loved the fruity sweet flavour, it was exactly like the tea loaf I used to eat when living in Ireland. I had missed this kind of cake/bread and now I can make it myself. YAY! :)
I used whole spelt flour, left out the sugar and used a mix of dried mango pieces, sultanas, currants, candied cherries, cranberries and dates for the fruit. It was still super sweet and good! Mmm!
THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this wonderful, wonderful keeper with us, FT!
Made and reviewed for Adopt a Veggie Tag February 2011.

Lalaloula February 14, 2011

Did not work for me at all. I suspected that only 2 tbsp of milk would not be nearly enough, and I was right: it would not form a dough, so I added a bit more milk. Nevertheless, it came out dry and hard like a log. What a pity - besides the waste of the wonderful dried fruits. I think, other than the insufficient amount of milk, the lack of fat is another problem. Sorry, but it did not even taste good.

MrsK August 17, 2012

May 23, 2008: Confession time. I goofed up big time with this and it's completely my fault. I didn't read the recipe through before starting off with it so when I saw 2 tea loaves, I thought of cutting it into half and make 1 instead. Sounds good. Next day I finished making the batter and poured it into the prepared tin, it's now that I realise something isn't right, the batter seems less than the usual. Hmmm. I then took another glance at the recipe and spotted 'two 1 lb loaf tins'. I wanted to bang my head against the wall. I don't have a 1 lb tin... all I've got is a 2 lb tin. I baked it anyway. Even though I did reduce the baking time I got it wrong since it wasn't as moist as it should have been but inspite of ALL this, the loaf didn't last for long and I had to hide 2 slices (the end bits) to take some pics. Ohh ya... forgot to mention, I used more of sultanas than raisins since I don't like cooked raisins and soaked them in Earl Grey tea. Thank you, FT, for sharing this wonderful recipe. I definitely will be making it again.... but without any messing up! :) Update: I baked it as 1 large loaf in a 2 lb tin, turned out very soft and moist compared to my first attempt. Like one of the previous reviewers, I added in dried apricots instead of raisins, turned out wonderful. Thanks again.

Aaliyah's&Aaron'sMum July 01, 2009

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a