Bara Brith Mamgu

…Or Grandma’s Spotted Bread if you’re English

Bara Brith

My first ever cookbook was the Ewell Grove charity cook book aged 8.   Each school child and mother was invited to send in their own favourite recipes for compilation.  My lovely Mum gave up lots of free time to type up the book (yes with a typewriter it was 1989 after all), and the book was sold as part of a school fundraising campaign.  I came to love that book and each Sunday through the early 1990s I along with my friend and neighbour would cook something from it – either making a mess in her kitchen or mine – our poor Mothers!  Our favourite thing to do was weighing up the ingredients in advance and having them all laid out ready in bowls – just like on Blue Peter.

Ewell Grove Recipe Book

Marmite cheese twists were minging, flapjacks a fail-proof recipe and ginger biscuits were my absolute favourite – trying them out with low-fat spread in my low-fat years and gluten-free flour much later.  I haven’t quite given them the Cucina Ceri treatment yet!

Another favourite of mine to bake was the fruit tea loaf, which is a variant of the Welsh bara-brith (spotted bread).  My family all hail from Wales, so for us this was truly a family favourite recipe.  Here’s my first attempt at variating the recipe Cucina Ceri style. Disappointingly the cake fell apart when I impatiently sliced off a chunk fresh out of the oven, but triumphantly the cake tasted just like it should.  I used coconut flour, almonds and flax instead of ‘normal’ flour, and I’m sure that I didn’t get the wet to dry ratio correct since coconut flour is incredibly absorbent. I’m sure with a few tweaks here and there I could get this perfect….

Bara Brith

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)

  • 225g of dried fruits – sultanas/raisins/currants (Vegetable oil and additive free – not that easy to find) soaked overnight in 150mls of water with 2 tea bags.
  • 100g coconut flour (Tiana brand)
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 25g ground flax
  • 1.5 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 25g coconut palm sugar + 2tsps for sprinkling on top
  • 2 eggs
  • 25g organic honey


  • Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C (fan oven)
  • Combine the dry ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the eggs with the honey, then stir into the dry ingredients.
  • Spoon into a silicone loaf tin (greased with coconut oil) and dust with 2 tsps of palm sugar.
  • Bake in oven for 1 hour.

Here is the original recipe. Any natural bakers among you any idea what I could do to improve mine?

  • Dried fruit and tea as above
  • 225g of self raising flour
  • 115g of caster sugar
  • 1.5 tsps of ground mixed spice
  • 2 eggs
  • Demerera sugar for dusting

6 thoughts on “Bara Brith Mamgu

  1. Gary Conway

    Yum! The dried fruit looks good. I’m terrible at baking so I like recipes like this with simple steps 🙂 Also it’s pretty impossible not to eat baked stuff as soon as it comes out of the oven!

  2. sarahmacarthurking

    Hi Ceri, I added 3 tbsp coconut oil, an extra egg, 2 tbsp almond butter and used a bit less coconut flour with a bit more almond meal and used coconut crunch instead of flax meal. Result…moist and delicious bara brith that stayed whole as I cut it. Thanks so much for the inspiration.


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