Gluten Free Borrowdale Teabread

>sliced and buttered

Borrowdale Teabread is a traditional, moist teabread from Borrowdale, in the Cumbria region of England. It’s served buttered (and I love lots of butter when I eat this, the good Irish “Kerrygold” salted butter!), along with a piping hot cup of tea done the English way with a dash of milk. Dried fruit is soaked overnight in strong tea and this contributes to the rich taste and moist texture. As I’ve only ever made it Gluten Free, I find it more successful to bake two 1lb loaves from this recipe. The recipe was tweaked from one by the legendary, great baking guru, Mary Berry (one of the ‘Great British Bake Off’ judges). This teabread stores well, placed in an airtight cake tin and is best eaten on the day of baking or within 2 days (not a problem in our house). If made with regular (gluten) self raising flour it will store for much longer, but the gluten free flour does not stand up so well because of the soaked fruit. As I said, best eaten on day of baking. Enjoy for afternoon tea, a snack, for breakfast or take a slice with you to work for eleven’s.

time for tea 2

You must soak the dried fruit overnight and don’t throw away any excess tea as this goes into the recipe. I like to weigh out all the ingredients the night before, leave the eggs sit out to reach room temperature and have everything weighed and ready to assemble the cake in 5 minutes; it can be baking while you eat breakfast. I’ve just finished eating the slices you see in the photos and I’m having a second cup of tea while I write up this recipe. It’s an unusually dreary, rainy day in Dallas – perfect for enjoying something comforting like this. I hope you love it too.

You’ll need:

2 x 1lb loaf tins, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and the base lined with parchment paper

4oz sultanas (golden raisins)
4oz currants
4oz raisins
16 fl oz (2 cups) strong tea, strained
8oz Light muscovado (or light brown) sugar
2 large Eggs at room temperature
1lb cup4cup Wholesome gluten free flour (*see cooks notes below)
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Fine Salt
1oz melted Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Mixed Cake Spice or Apple Pie Spice Mix


1) Put the sultanas, currants and raisins in a bowl and pour in the tea. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
2) Assemble the remaining ingredients ready for baking tomorrow and cover the bowls with plastic wrap. Cut out parchment paper to fit the base of the loaf tins. Remember to leave out 2 eggs so they are at room temperature.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

3) Over a large bowl, place a sieve and add the Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. Shake over the bowl so it all combines. Pour in any ‘bran’ bits that are left in the sieve to the flour mixture and stir in.
4) Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add the Flour mix along with the soaked fruits and any left-over liquid, the melted Butter, Vanilla Extract and Mixed Spice and mixed together thoroughly.
5) Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tins and level the surface.
6) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean Leave to cool in the tins. Serve sliced and spread with butter and a nice cup of tea.

fresh out of oven*Cook’s Note – you can make this using regular Self Raising flour. Just measure 1lb of Wholewheat SR Flour and omit the Baking Powder and Salt.

Cup4cup ‘Wholesome’ Flour is available from Williams-Sonoma, natural food stores and Amazon.

time for tea

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