Recipe: A Cheap & Easy Classic Tea Bread

When I first arrived at university I was terrified that I would not be able to afford to feed myself on a student budget, and before I really started making money off of this blog, all my original recipe posts were made using the Sainsbury’s Basics range which was a total life saver. While today I do most of my shopping at the farmers market, I sometimes pick up some good basics there. So, when Sainsbury’s offered to send me some products from their basics range to put together a recipe, my original plan was to throw back to being a Fresher and do a special edition ‘Student Suppers‘ post. But then, as always, my Mother came up with a better idea. 

A Cheap & Easy Classic Tea Bread | @rachelphipps

She instantly looked at the big bag of Mixed Dried Fruit that was delivered, and the Tea Bags, and she told me to make a Tea Bread. Because she is my Mother and I am her daughter, naturally I wanted to come up with my own idea. After a few weeks in London scratching my head the next time I was back on the farm last week I gave in, and made a Tea Bread. My loaf is a mash up of several different recipes for such that Mary Berry has published over the years (my Mother has an enviable food library here that I’m always looking through for ideas), and is perfect served for afternoon tea or a mid morning snack with lashings of lightly salted butter. 

  • 300g (12 oz) Sainsbury’s Basics Mixed Dried Fruit
  • 475ml (16 floz) Strong Black Tea made with 4 Sainsbury’s Basics Tea Bags
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 225g (8 oz) Dark Muscavado Sugar 
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 450g (1 lb) Self-Raising Flour

The night before you wish to bake your cake, soak the mixed dried fruit in the tea. I must say, I honestly can’t tell the difference between these Basics Mixed Dried Fruit and the one I usually use. When it is time to bake, like a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment and preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 fahrenheit). With an electric whisk beat the eggs and the sugar together until the mixture is thick, light, smooth and glossy. This will also get the lumps out of the sugar. To those familiar with it, the mixture should taste like Gypsy Tart filling. Fold in the flour, lemon zest, fruit and the remaining soaking liquid until the cake mixture is smooth. Spoon into the tin and smooth over the top. Bake for about an hour, until you can put a skewer into the cake and pull it out again clean. Be sure to put the skewer in several places. I’ve made the mistake before of putting it in one place, thinking it was cooked and taking it out the oven. It was in fact still raw in the middle; I could almost imagine what Paul Hollywood would say, and the look of disappointment on Mary Berry’s face, especially as this is a mash up of a couple of her recipes! Leave to cool in the tin before serving warm.

What are your favourite classic home bakes? I have a few more recipes for our farmhouse favourites here that I have been tweaking slightly to make my own that I can’t wait to share with you. I find it hard to bake anything sweet or bread like in my London flat, but in a few weeks time I won’t have any more classes and just essays to write, so I’ll be spending a lot more time in Kent with the kitchen, so expect more sweet treats soon!