Traditional Irish Barmbrack
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Traditional Irish Barmbrack

Hi Bold Bakers. A lot of people ask me do we celebrate Halloween
in Ireland, well an actual fact, Halloween originated from the ancient Celts in Europe
before it spread throughout the world. Around this time, a time we call All Hallows
Eve, we eat a cake called Barmbrack. This cake is rich in tradition and I’m going
to share those traditions and stories with you today. As always the written recipe can be found
on So our first step is to soak the fruit, I
have a nice big bowl here, into it we’re gonna add our ingredients. So first things first is raisins, and then
I’m gonna follow that with some Golden Sultanas. You can also use golden raisins, currants,
whatever you like. Then we have a nice bit of brown sugar, this
just makes the cake nice and rich, it has almost a caramel molasses taste. Then we’re gonna follow that with some zest. This is very common in Ireland to have cakes
that are rich in fruit and zest like this. This really reminds me of the holiday season. Do yourself a favor and zest a nice big orange,
just so you get a little bit extra in there. And then some lemon, a nice big lemon also. Alright, so all of our zest is in there. Now our secret ingredient is tea. So this is a black tea that I have here it’s
nice and hot. It’s 2 cups but I put 4 tea bags in here
to make it lovely nice and strong because the stronger the tea, the better the flavor
of the cake. You can use English Breakfast tea, Irish breakfast
tea, earl gray if you want but I usually stick to Irish breakfast tea. Then just go ahead and pour that right in
there, nice strong tea, minus the tea bags don’t put the tea bags in there. Then what you want to do is give it a good
mix to make sure everything in there is nice and combined. The hot tea here will help dissolve the sugar
and also rehydrate the fruit and make it really lovely and plump. Ok. So then just cover this guy in cling wrap. And here’s what we’re gonna do, leave
this out at room temperature overnight, minimum of 8 hours and let the flavors macerate and
get really lovely and strong. So I’m just gonna put it over to the side
and we’re gonna get started with our next step. So here I have a nice new bowl and into it
we’re gonna add in our dry ingredients. Some flour, baking powder and some mixed spice. Now if you don’t have mixed spice in your
country I have a recipe on my website on how you can easily make it or you can replace
it with pumpkin spice, that’s a really good substitute. It’s just a little cinnamon, ginger, cloves,
things like that just to make it kind of aromatic. Then we’re just gonna whisk those ingredients
together. You know something just occurred to me, mixed
spice isn’t the same thing as allspice so just make sure you don’t use allspice instead. Ok lovely so into our dry ingredients we’re
going to add in our beaten eggs and half of our fruit mixture. This is fruit that I soaked yesterday so it
would be ready in time for this cake. And then with a spatula just fold it all together. Then once it starts to come together add in
the rest of your fruit. So in olden times in Ireland Halloween coincided
with the harvest of fruit so people would gather it to start making Christmas cakes. It was a really good way to preserve it as
fruit was a real luxury. So Barmbrack is like a taster of what your
Christmas cake will be like, a promise of Christmas to come. It’s not as rich as Irish Christmas Cake
but it still has loads of fruit and spices. Barmbrack translated from Irish to English
means speckled loaf which means that fruit was sparse throughout the loaf. So there you go, don’t be worried about
adding all of that tea in there because the cake does need it, this is nice and mixed
no more lumps of flour, so now we’re gonna get this into our tin. So just pour your batter into a greased and
lined cake tin, you can use anything from a 9” – 10” cake tin and that will work
really well. Or you can use a springform pan. Lovely. So a tradition around Barmbrack was one of
my favorites growing up, you put a charm in the center of the cake so when you buy it
at a bakery or a shop you’ll slice the cake and see who gets the charm and they mean different
things. There’s different charms that you can put
in there, you can put in a dried pea which means you wouldn’t marry. You can put in a small piece of cloth which
means you’ll be poor which, that’s kind of sad. You can put in a coin which means you’ll
be rich, so that’s awesome I like that one. Or you could also put in a little ring which
means you’ll be married within the year. I’m gonna put in a little ring here into
my one, just get one at the pound shop, really inexpensive. Or you can use a coin or something. Wrap it in a little piece of parchment paper
and then just pop it anywhere into the batter of the cake. And that will bake safely in there, no problem,
wrapped in the parchment paper. So that’s it, that’s our Barmbrack, super
easy we’re going to pop this into the oven now and get it baking. So bake your Barmbrack off at 325° F or 170°
C for roughly 90 minutes or so, fruit cakes do take quite a long time to bake. So check this out, it’s been roughly 90
minutes and this is gorgeous. It’s well risen it really is a nice big
cake, golden brown all over the top this is exactly what we’re looking for. I love this cake because the raisins and the
spices we used scream fall baking, And as you can see, I found the ring. I’m not gonna tell Kevin I found that. So Barmbrack is traditionally served with
butter, if you have Kerigold even better, and then simply enjoy. I love this because it transports me right
back to Ireland, to the fall time to holidays, to Halloween growing up, to having toasted
barmbrack with a cup of tea, and also getting ready for Christmas and what’s to come with
that with fruitcake and everything. This recipe really does hold a lot of nostalgia
for me and I think that no matter where you are in the world you should definitely give
this a try and create your own memories. Thank you for allowing me to share a little
bit of my Halloween tradition and what I grew up with in Ireland, I really hope you enjoyed
this episode. I’ll see you back here really soon for more
Bigger Bolder Baking.

About Earl Carter

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97 thoughts on “Traditional Irish Barmbrack

  1. i am the first one here….plz hit a like if you love gemma and gemma i am your biggest fan so plz give me a 💓

  2. Hi, Gemma. What a beautiful cake, my friend. You look so pretty in grey. What do you love about raisins? I love you so much, cutie pie. <3

  3. Wow! I never heard of this bread before. Looks amazing. Taste flavourful and fluffy bread. Great recipe. See u next time.

  4. Hi Gemma……your cake is beautiful! Does it naturally bake up shiny like that one pictured or did you glaze it with something for the photo?

  5. I'm Wiccan and still celebrate Samhain as the new year. I've never heard of this cake, though – maybe it's not as well known amongst us Sasanachs 🙂 Looks delicious!

  6. I don't understand how on Earth you turn such simple ingredients into something that looks so incredible, even accounting for all the production help from your video crew!

    I suspect a rooibos chai tea's earthy warmth would work well in this cake!

  7. Awwww man Gemma now I want a slice toasted with lots of Lurpak for me. Guess I will be making one of these possibly tomorrow


  9. love this cake… I will be trying it! the charms in the cake.. we used to have money or a button in our cakes.. if you got the button had to do the dishes 🙂 I have of Irish heritage as well, so I wonder if that where the tradition came from.. Thanks for sharing

  10. I head to your video right after my English extra-class, a little bit late, but that’s fine. Love you and your recipes so much. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️Sending love from Vietnam

  11. Barmbrack, totally new for me, but I can see that it must be so good and gorgeous with al this dried fruits and spices. 😋😋😊😋😊
    Bravissima Gemma and have a nice day. 👍💋🤗

  12. Ohh my… 53rd comment🙄🙄 whatever your recipe is GREAT☺☺☺☺☺☺❤

  13. In Mexico we have the rosca de reyes (I think it's king's bread in English?). You hide little baby figurines of different colors, and depending on the color you host the next party, make the drinks, make the food, etc. We do this at Christmastime, but around Halloween we eat pan de muertos (dead man's bread) for day of the dead (día de los muertos) on 1 and 2 November. 1 Nov is for remembering children, the 2 Nov is everyone else.

  14. This looks a lot like "Bara brith", a cake made with tea and dried fruit in Wales! The only difference is the shape! I guess the Celtic peoples share even more things than just languages haha

  15. I just have one thing to say: YUM! This recipe is very similar to a typical Christmas cake we do in Poland called Keks [kɛks] , just without soaking in tea – we soak fruit in hot water and lemon 🙂

  16. 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷

  17. Thanks Gemma. A touch of Ireland is always needed. I’ll make that at the weekend . I’m still suffering from my Irish cold 🤧🤧

  18. I have almost all ingredients here, I will give this a try this month! Wanna do this for Samhain

  19. I am going to make this, except omit the dried fruit. I am still traumatized from when I bit into a raisins cookie thinking it was chocolate as a kid.

  20. I'd never thought to make tea as the liquid for a cake… that is so new to me… I'm going to have to try it next time I bake… You're an ACE Gemma!!!

  21. Right now Im so hungry and I cant make the cake at this moment because I have to prepare the raisins however tomorrow after school since its friday will be great

  22. Thank you for sharing the history and culture behind this lovely cake! My husband has Irish roots, I want to try making this for him.

  23. I am from Serbia, we make a traditional bread for Christmas on January 7th, where we also put different objects in the past. Nowadays, it is usually just a coin that brings good luck to the finder. I like the recipe, except I really do not like tea. Can it be substituted? Thanks!

  24. I used to make this when I was younger but never knew the story behind it ❤❤❤🇨🇦❤❤❤

  25. This takes me back to being little, my mam and I pretty much always baked on a Sunday afternoon, especially in the winter. We used to make all sorts but we always loved a tea loaf. This is a must, I am going to bake this for them this weekend. Precious memories. Thanks 👏🏻👍🤗

  26. Gemma,everytime youshare Irish recipes it makes me really happy 🙂 Thank you so much♡ Lots of love♡

  27. Wonderful,I remember this ,I was born there,usually had a sixpence,thrupense,and if lucky a shilling,thanks🍀🇨🇦♥️

  28. I have a recipe for this but I’ve always wondered how it work. Now I know. I will use your recipe instead. Thanks very much!

  29. Does the tea and the zest of the lemon and orange change the flavor of the raisins? Because my mom and my aunt has Irish in them and I would love to make this for them but my mom dont like raisins l.

  30. Woohoo it's a low fat fruit cake! Just the fats from the eggs and no added butter. Thanks Gemma, I will try this in the future.

  31. I love watching you and have since the beginning and this cake looks delicious but I hate tea of any kind! What can I substitute with? And please don’t tell me you can’t Taste it, i can smell the tea and It turns my stomach! To me tea is sickness. I only got tea when I was sick! My siblings feel the same.

  32. But how did you get the top of that barmbrack so shiny? If you painted it with something – I missed it. Is it the tea?

  33. I have these Tears of Happiness Gemma. OMG i so love everything about your channel. in love with this new traditional bread 🙂

  34. Awesome! I’ve made barmbrack a few times and really love it! I’ve been meaning to make it again, will give your recipe a go. Thanks heaps. Lots of love from New Zealand

  35. I love traditional food, it's like you are eating a pice of history, so warming😍
    Ps: I WOULD LOVE A VIDEO ABOUT YOUR COOKBOOKS! Those that have inspired and you still rely on❤️

  36. Oh I'm so excited to try this one!! I asked about a Barmbrack recipe like 5 years ago, so I'm so happy to finally have a recipe from you!! Go raibh maith agat!!

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