Happy Halloween

by Alison, 31/10/2013

Just a quick 'bread' (it's pretty much cake) recipe thats very common this time of year in Ireland.  Like many of the Halloween traditions, this was another way of foretelling what the next year would bring for each individual. I can only ever remember finding the money (symbolising wealth / good luck) or the ring (symbolising marriage) as a kid, but after looking at a couple of recipes, traditionally there was also the pea (meaning you would not marry), the cloth (symbolising poverty/ bad luck) and the stick (symbolising an unhappy marriage). Whatever your fortune, it's a pretty tasty tradition. 

Even though its pretty rich, seeing as its a 'bread', in Ireland its often buttered to add some extra flavour.  The final, and in my opinion, necessary addition should be a nice cup of tea.

This recipe was adapted from Darina Allen's Irish Tea Brambrack recipe. I had to adapt it because I don't really like currants or glace cherries. If you do, just alter the weight of the raisins and sultanas and add in one or both of these elements. I also don't really like candied peel so I opted for the zest of a lemon instead. Each to their own and seeing how Ollie isn't home, this cake is all for me.

160g sultanas
160g raisins
300ml hot tea
1 egg, whisked
200g soft brown sugar
225g self raising flour
1tsp mixed spice
zest of 1lemon

Items to add: a ring, a cloth, a pea, a coin, a stick. I'm all about good fortune so I think the ring and the coin are the best to add. Whatever you add make sure it is wrapped in greaseproof paper.

Make a pot of tea and soak the raisins and sultanas in 300ml of tea for at least an hour (leave overnight if possible).
When the fruit is nearly ready, pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. 
Grease a 1lb loaf tin.
Sift the flour. Add the mixed spice, egg, sugar, lemon zest and mix well.
Then add the fruit and mix again.
Finally add the wrapped items and stir them into the mix.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin. Ensure none of the wrapped items are sticking out and place in the oven.
The original recipe said to cook for 1hour 30mins. Mine was done in 1hour 15mins. As always test whether a knife or skewer will come out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool further.
Once cool, place in an airtight tin. 

Atmospheric pumpkins are totally optional.


  1. Feel really techie as I'm doing this on phone. Brack looks delic. But pumpkin really awesome. Well done pumpkin pie!

    1. Haha welcome to addiction! you will now be checking your phone constantly. Brack is great, I'll bring some Monday, if I have any left.