Delicious Irish Tea Cake Recipe for Tea Lovers

Are you ready to taste the traditional flavors of Ireland in the form of a delicious cake? I proudly present to you the Irish Tea Cake, a scrumptious dessert that will leave your taste buds craving for more. This cake is a perfect combination of dried fruits, cakey texture, and the smoothness of tea, making it an irresistible delicacy.

As a chef specializing in British cuisine, I have experienced first-hand how this recipe has charmed people from all over the world with its light moist texture and wonderful aroma. For me, the Irish Tea Cake recipe goes beyond just being a cake; it is a symbol of welcoming warmth and hospitality.

This recipe holds an important place in many Irish households where it is enjoyed as an afternoon treat, especially during social gatherings. It’s also a favorite on St. Patrick’s Day alongside other Irish desserts such as traditional Irish Barmbrack, fruitcake, pound cake, fruit loaf, and many more.

This cake recipe is simple to make, so you don’t have to be an expert baker to try it out. So why not grab your apron and join me in making one of the most delicious Irish desserts?

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Cake: Irish Tea Cake
Cake: Irish Tea Cake

There are plenty of cake recipes out there, but this Irish Tea Cake recipe is truly special. Not only does it have a unique blend of dried fruits, including walnuts, dates, cranberries, raisins, and banana chips, which give it a complex and delicious flavor profile, but it is also infused with black tea. This infusion adds an incredible depth and maltiness to the cake that will make it hard to resist having seconds or even thirds!

What’s more, this recipe is incredibly easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients such as self-raising flour, milk, egg, and demerara sugar as its base, you can have a light and moist cake ready in no time. And because it doesn’t require any complicated techniques, this recipe is perfect for novice bakers who want to create something delicious without investing too much of their time.

Furthermore, this Irish Tea Cake can be customized to suit your personal taste preferences. For example, you can swap out the dried fruit mix for chocolate chips or sprinkle shredded coconut on top for an extra sweet touch. The possibilities are endless.

Finally, this Irish Tea Cake recipe isn’t just any cake; it’s a traditional Irish dish that has been passed down through generations. It’s an essential part of the country’s culinary culture and history. By making this recipe at home with your own twist, you’re partaking in that rich heritage.

In conclusion, this Irish Tea Cake recipe is not only flavorful and easy to make, but it’s also versatile and carries an immense cultural value. So why not give it a try? I guarantee you’ll love every bite!

Ingredient List

 Slice of heaven: Perfectly cut slice of Irish Tea Cake.
Slice of heaven: Perfectly cut slice of Irish Tea Cake.

Ingredients for Irish Tea Cake Recipe

  • 2 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of mixed dried fruits (walnuts, dates, cranberries, raisins)
  • 1/2 cup of banana chips
  • 1/4 cup of demerara sugar
  • 2 bags of black tea

Note: You can substitute the mixed dried fruits and banana chips with other types of dried fruits or nuts. The use of the traditional Irish ingredients adds a unique flavor to the tea cake.

The Recipe How-To

 Tea time!: A warm cup of tea served with a delicious slice of Irish Tea Cake.
Tea time!: A warm cup of tea served with a delicious slice of Irish Tea Cake.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes | Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Firstly, preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter.

Step 2: Soak Dried Fruits in Tea

Next, place 100g of mixed dried fruits including raisins, dates, and cranberries in a bowl. Then pour over 200ml of black tea and leave to soak for around 10-15 minutes until the fruits are plump and juicy.

Step 3: Combine Ingredients

In a separate mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of self-raising flour, 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, 3/4 cup demerara sugar, and 1 tsp of ground cinnamon. Mix together thoroughly.

Step 4: Mix wet ingredients and add to the dry ones

In another mixing bowl, cream (beat until light and fluffy) 1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature with 1 cup white sugar using an electric hand mixer until creamy. Then add in 2 eggs one by one followed by 2 tsp of vanilla extract.

Gradually fold in the dry ingredients into the wet mixture with a wooden spoon or a spatula alternating with a bit of the soaked fruit mix, then add in any remaining fruit mix into the batter.

Step 5: Bake

Pour the cake mixture into your pre-greased cake tin and flatten down with a spatula. Place it on the middle rack of your preheated oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes until golden brown on top and baked through. To check if it’s ready, insert a toothpick into its center; it should come out clean.

Step 6: Let cool before serving

Remove the cake from the oven, and allow it to cool in its pan for 10 minutes. Then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now slice and serve this traditionally simple yet delicious Irish tea cake recipe with a cup of fresh brewed tea or some Irish Cream drizzled over the top.


Substitutions and Variations

 Together is better: A family of fresh and juicy strawberries serving as the perfect topping for the Irish Tea Cake
Together is better: A family of fresh and juicy strawberries serving as the perfect topping for the Irish Tea Cake

Now, let’s talk about the substitutions and variations that you can try with this delightful Irish tea cake recipe. One of the best things about baking is that there is always room for experimentation, and this recipe is no exception.

First, let’s talk about the dried fruit. While we’ve used raisins, cranberries, chopped dates and banana chips in this recipe, you can substitute them with any other dried fruits that you may have on hand. Try adding some currants, chopped apricots or even dried figs for a delicious twist.

If you’re not a fan of walnuts, feel free to swap them out for almonds or hazelnuts. You can also omit the nuts entirely if you prefer.

For a slightly different flavor profile, you can experiment with different types of tea. While we’ve used traditional Irish tea in this recipe, other black teas like Darjeeling or English Breakfast will work just as well. You could also try making this cake with green tea or even herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint.

If you want to make this recipe vegan, you can substitute the butter and milk with plant-based alternatives like coconut oil and almond milk. Just be mindful that the consistency and flavor may be slightly different than when using traditional ingredients.

Overall, don’t be afraid to get creative and try new things when it comes to substitutions and variations in your baking. Who knows – you might end up discovering a new favorite ingredient combination!

Serving and Pairing

 Mixing magic: A person in the process of mixing the ingredients with a big smile on his/her face.
Mixing magic: A person in the process of mixing the ingredients with a big smile on his/her face.

Once your Irish Tea Cake is done, you can serve it any way you like. This cake is perfect alongside a strong cup of black tea or a warm cup of Irish breakfast tea for an authentic experience. You can also try pairing it with a cup of Irish cream to create an indulgent and rich dessert.

To add more texture to this sweet tea cake, sprinkle it with crushed walnuts or decorate the top with some banana chips. You can also top it off with extra dried fruit like cranberries, raisins or chopped dates for a burst of natural sweetness.

Looking for ways to fancy up your presentation? Try serving the cake sliced in thick wedges topped with a drizzle of traditional Irish whiskey cream sauce or hot caramel sauce.

Regardless of how you plan on serving it, this delightful and light cake will make a great addition to any dessert table. Whether a backyard BBQ or family dinner, cement the bond between friends and family with this delicious baked dessert.

Remember, pastries and cakes like this are always safe options when hosting friends who don’t have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. Such folklore Irish desserts have been enjoyed all over the world since time immemorial.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Scrummy scrumptious: A close-up of a fork diving into a soft, buttery, and moist Irish Tea Cake.
Scrummy scrumptious: A close-up of a fork diving into a soft, buttery, and moist Irish Tea Cake.

The Irish Tea Cake is a delightful cake that can be made ahead so that you have one less thing to worry about on the day of your tea party or any other occasion. If you’re running short on time, you can prepare the cake in advance by making the batter, pouring it into a greased loaf pan, and then refrigerating it for up to 24 hours.

Once the cake has been baked, you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. To keep the cake nice and moist, place a slice of apple or a piece of bread in the container with the cake. The moisture from the apple or bread will transfer to the cake and keep it from going stale quickly.

When you’re ready to reheat the cake, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and wrap the Irish Tea Cake in aluminum foil. Place it in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until it’s heated through. Alternatively, you can microwave it for 20-30 seconds on high power.

For an extra special treat, serve your Irish Tea Cake with some whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. This cake is perfect for any occasion whether you’re hosting a tea party or just want something delicious to enjoy with your family and friends.

Overall, preparing this delicious Irish Tea Cake ahead of time and storing it properly will give you plenty of time to focus on other tasks while still enjoying a delicious dessert whenever you like.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Old-school charm: A rustic and charming serving tray serving a freshly baked Irish Tea Cake.
Old-school charm: A rustic and charming serving tray serving a freshly baked Irish Tea Cake.

If you’re looking to make the perfect Irish Tea Cake, follow these simple tips to ensure your bake turns out beautifully.

1. Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Using room temperature ingredients like butter, eggs and milk will help them blend together more easily, resulting in a cake that has a light and moist texture.

2. Add Nuts or Dried Fruits for Extra Texture: Adding walnuts, dates, cranberries, raisins or banana chips to your cake batter will give it an extra crunch and add a burst of flavor with every bite.

3. Brew Your Tea Properly: The quality of the tea you use can make a big difference in the taste of your cake. Make sure to properly brew your black tea and let it cool completely before adding it to the batter.

4. Grease and Flour Your Pan: To prevent your cake from sticking to the pan, generously grease and flour it before pouring in the batter.

5. Don’t Overmix Your Batter: Overmixing can lead to tough and dry cakes. Mix the ingredients until just combined for a light and fluffy texture.

6. Experiment with Different Flavors: Traditional Irish Tea Cake is delicious on its own, but you can also try adding Irish cream or other flavors like lemon or orange zest for an extra zing.

7. Follow Delia Smith’s Recipe: To get authentic results, consider following Delia Smith’s recipe for traditional Irish Barmbrack or fruit loaf. Her recipes have been tested over decades and will guarantee a delicious result.

8. Don’t Rush the Baking Process: Bake the cake slowly at a low temperature for an even distribution of heat throughout the cake. This will result in a perfectly baked cake with no soggy spots.

Follow these tips and you’ll have a delicious Irish Tea Cake that’s perfect for any afternoon tea gathering or breakfast spread!


As with any recipe, there may be some questions and concerns that arise as you work through the creation of this delicious Irish Tea Cake. Below are some of the most common questions I’ve received, along with their answers. Hopefully, they’ll help you feel more confident as you get ready to embark on your baking journey!

What is the difference between tea cake and regular cake?

In India and Australia, a teacake resembles a butter cake, whereas in England it’s a sweet and light bun made with yeast and dried fruits such as currants, sultanas or peel. This delightful treat is typically enjoyed with tea after being split, toasted, and buttered.

What is Irish cream cake made of?

Indulge in a decadent dessert this St. Patrick’s Day with my recipe for a Guinness chocolate cake soaked in Bailey’s Irish Cream and adorned with a white chocolate frosting infused with Irish Whiskey. For a finishing touch, I recommend adding a homemade caramel drizzle. Get ready to treat yourself to a heavenly Irish Cream Cake!

Why is tea cake called tea cake?

These sweet treats, known as tea cakes, have their roots in Britain and were traditionally enjoyed during the customary afternoon tea time.

What is the national dessert of Ireland?

When it comes to desserts, we simply can’t leave out our cherished Guinness cake, one of the most popular Irish treats. This luscious chocolate cake, infused with the unique flavor of Guinness, can be given an extra boost with Baileys frosting, giving it that distinctive Irish essence.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Irish Tea Cake recipe is a perfect representation of the rich and diverse flavors found in traditional Irish cuisine. This cake is not only a delicious dessert but also a symbol of cultural heritage and history. This recipe has been passed down from generation to generation and has been perfected over time, making it a truly authentic dish.

After trying this recipe, I am confident that you too will understand why this cake is revered in Irish culture. The combination of the sweet dried fruits and the subtle tea flavor creates a light, moist and flavorful cake that will leave you wanting more.

So, gather your ingredients and indulge in this delectable Irish Tea Cake. It’s perfect for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. Be sure to share it with your family and friends so they too can experience the rich taste of traditional Irish cuisine.

Finally, I encourage you to explore other Irish desserts such as the traditional Irish Barmbrack, fruit loaf or pound cake for even more culinary adventures. With these desserts, you can add a touch of Ireland to any meal or gathering.

Cake: Irish Tea Cake

Cake: Irish Tea Cake Recipe

A friend of mine who is as keen a cook as myself, passed me this recipe but couldn't remember the source. She recommended it as being "perfect with a good cup of tea" and I couldn't agree more!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 4 Hours, Dessert, Easy
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Calories 436.2kcal


  • 1 pint strong tea
  • 200 g chewy banana chips
  • 125 g cranberries or 125 g raisins
  • 200 g dates
  • 160 g demerara sugar
  • 125 g chopped walnuts
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 450 g self raising flour


  • Soak the dried fruit for 1 1/2 hrs in strongly brewed tea. Line a 28 x 23cm / 11" x 9" baking tin with baking parchment and lightly grease with vegetable oil.
  • Beat the egg and milk together. Mash the soaked fruit with a fork, then stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Spread the mixture in roasting tin/s.
  • Bake in the centre of preheated oven at 170° for about 1 1/2 hrs until golden brown on top and springy to the touch in the centre.
  • Turn out immediately onto a wire rack.


Serving: 128g | Calories: 436.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 74.1g | Protein: 7.9g | Fat: 13.4g | Saturated Fat: 5.7g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 9.9mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 30.6g

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