Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour


A gluten free Irish Tea Cake with your very own signature

RecipesKerrie Woodhouse

I have been thinking a lot about tea and traditions this week. And it seems to me that you can't get much more traditional than a grandmotherly fruit cake. One of my favourite fruit cakes is this gluten free Irish Tea Cake. It is based on a traditional Irish cake which is sometimes called a barmbrack if it is served around Halloween time. For the festivities it would also have had trinkets baked inside like a ring, or a coin.

gluten free irish tea cake

I have no idea if I am correct or not, but in my head I think of barmbrack as being more of a yeasted bread with fruit in it.  This is most definitely a cake - no yeast, no fuss. It couldn't really be much easier because you don't even need a mixer.  You do want to start the night before, however.

Preliminary preparations - the night before

  • In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the following ingredients
    • 1 cup (250ml) black tea
    • 2/3 cup brown sugar
    • 375g packet of mixed fruit
    • Leave overnight to soak so that the fruit absorbs most of the tea

The next day

  • Preheat the oven to 160C
  • Line the base and sides of a loaf tin with baking paper
  • Add 1 large egg (gently beaten with a fork to break it up) to the fruit and tea mixture and mix together
  • Stir in:
    • 1 cup  gluten free self raising flour (I choose White Wings brand if possible)
    • 1/2 cup of almond meal
    • Tip into the prepared tin and sprinkle a few chopped nuts (I like pecans) over the top of the loaf to be a bit fancy.... (or don't  - its up to you!)
    • Bake for 90 minutes
  • Once it is cool, serve it in thick, buttered slices... next to a lovely cup of tea.  This loaf lasts well and is rather good toasted too.

What's your signature ingredient?

This cake also gives you the chance to put your spin on it. Your very own signature ingredient. Stir something quirky into the batter before you bake it.

Some chocolate chips, perhaps?

Orange zest?

10ml of Chinese five spice?

50ml whisky?

Oh yes... the whisky... start with that.

Explore more of the Tea Time post series here 

Gluten Free Lemon Tea Cake - the best accompaniment to a cup of tea

RecipesKerrie Woodhouse

It is a very small leap for me,  from tea to cake. And what sort of cake goes best with a cup of tea? Well, just about any to be frank, but my favourite is this gluten free lemon tea cake.

There is much to recommend about this recipe. Most importantly, its very quick and easy. Almost as important it's lactose and gluten free... otherwise I would not be able to eat it!

In a very short space of time and with very few ingredients you have alongside your cup of tea, a tender sponge with a sprightly lemon icing.


If you have need of such an accompaniment to your lovely cup of tea, proceed thusly:

Preliminary preparations

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Line the base of a 20cm cake tin with paper and give the sides of the tin a quick spray of olive oil (if you can be bothered... I'm not sure this is strictly necessary.)

Gather the ingredients:

  • 120g dairy free spread
  • 120g soft brown sugar or raw caster sugar
  • 150 g gluten free self raising flour (I choose White Wings brand if possible)
  • 2 eggs ( I use the biggest I can find)
  • finely grated zest of a lemon
  • a splash (15ml) of soy milk or water


  • Place all of these ingredients in the mixer and mix on low for 30 seconds (to avoid the flour shower) and then on high for a minute or two until the batter is smooth and glossy.
  • spread into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
  • remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack


Mix 180g pure icing sugar with enough lemon juice (from the lemon you zested earlier)  to make a smooth icing of a soft dropping consistency.  Go slowly adding the juice, too much and it will be too drizzly, too little and you will have a hard time spreading it. If the consistency is right it spreads itself most obligingly over the top of the cake and stays there. Marvellous.

Explore more of the Tea Time post series