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irish barmbrack cakes for halloween

(2 ratings)
Blue Ribbon Recipe by
Jenn Conley
Salida, CA

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.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

We love to try recipes from other cultures and this Irish Barmbrack Cake smelled amazing while in the oven. After a little research, we learned that some versions of this are cake-like while others are more like bread. But both are filled with tons of dried fruit and spices. The texture of this recipe is tender, soft, and similar to bread. It's jam-packed with raisins that have been soaked in black tea. A traditional Irish bread that would be fun to make for Halloween with kids. We love it dusted with powdered sugar and spread with jam.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(2 ratings)
prep time 12 Hr
cook time 50 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For irish barmbrack cakes for halloween

  • 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 lg
    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

Test Kitchen Tips
Use a thermometer to make sure the milk does not get too hot and kill the yeast.
  • Soaking fruit in tea.
    Soak dried fruits in tea overnight (or a few hours if not enough time).
  • Heating milk and yeast.
    Heat milk until warm. Sprinkle yeast and teaspoon granulated sugar over top and stir. Let sit in a warm place for about 15 minutes, until foamy.
  • Flour, salt, spices, and brown sugar in a large bowl.
    Stir together the flour, salt, spices, and brown sugar in a large bowl.
  • Stirring in egg and yeast mixture.
    Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add egg, yeast mixture, and butter. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  • Adding soaked fruit to the bowl.
    Drain fruit well, then add to the dough. This should produce a smooth dough. If it's too gooey, add more flour.
  • Kneading the dough.
    Knead dough on a floured board for about 5-10 minutes. The dough should be smooth, but just a little sticky.
  • Dough in a greased pan ready to rise.
    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.
  • Bread baking in the oven.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake barmbrack 30 minutes.
  • Flipping the bread and baking the other side.
    Remove bread from the pan, flip it upside down, return it to the pan, and bake 20 minutes more.
  • Cooling bread on a wire rack.
    Bread is done cooking it sounds hollow when tapped on the sides. Cool on a rack before serving.
  • Irish Barmbrack Cake dusted with powdered sugar.
    Sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with butter and jam.