Irish Barmbrack Cakes for Halloween

Jenn Conley


Barmbrack is one of those traditional Halloween recipes that's both a dessert and a Halloween game. Traditionally, a ring is baked into the cake, and the person who finds the ring in their slice of barmbrack is guaranteed to be married before the year is out.

To make a more modern, kid-friendly version of the barmbrack Halloween game, bake several food friendly (and difficult-to-choke-on) items into your barmbrack. Those who find the items in the barmbrack get a prize. Be sure to warn your guest to eat with care to avoid a Halloween trip to the hospital!

This fluffy fruit bread is generally baked in a round cake pan. An 8 or 9 inch pan works well, but you can also use a loaf pan for a bread-shaped barmbrack.

This turns out best if you leave time to soak the fruit overnight, but don't worry if you can't-- a few hours is fine.


★★★★★ 1 vote

12 Hr
50 Min


  • 2 c
    strong, hot black tea
  • 3 1/2 c
    mixed dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, dry dates, candied orange peel, etc)
  • 1 c
    whole milk
  • 2 tsp
    active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp
    granulated sugar
  • 3 c
    bread flour
  • 1 tsp
  • 1/4 c
    brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 c
  • 1 large
    egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp
    allspice, ground

How to Make Irish Barmbrack Cakes for Halloween


  1. Soak dried fruits in tea overnight (or a few hours if not enough time).
  2. Heat milk until warm. Sprinkle yeast and teaspoon granulated sugar over top and stir. Let sit in a warm place about 15 minutes, until foamy.
  3. Stir together the flour, salt, spices, and brown sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add egg, yeast mixture, and butter. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Drain fruit well, then add to dough. This should produce a smooth dough. If it's too gooey, add more flour.
  6. Knead dough on a floured board about 5-10 minutes. Dough should be smooth, but just a little sticky.
  7. Place dough in your greased cake or loaf pan, cover with a cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes, until doubled.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake barmbrack 30 minutes.
  9. Remove bread from the pan, flip it upside down, return it to the pan, and bake 20 minutes more.
  10. Bread is done cooking it sounds hollow when tapped on the sides.
  11. Cool on a rack before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with butter and jam.

Printable Recipe Card

About Irish Barmbrack Cakes for Halloween

Course/Dish: Breads, Cakes, Sweet Breads
Other Tag: For Kids

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