- a blog about food and value

2001st post! Recipe: Halloween tea brack

Halloween is about death, fun and cake. This weekend, Cheapeats – also known as Jean and I – are holding a cake sale in The Grand Social to raise money for children’s charity Barnardos. We’d love, love, love you to bake something for the sale and bring it along.

Resident ireland am cook Catherine Leyden has sent on some recipe ideas for simple, Halloween themed treats. We’ll start off with her recipe for tea brack: the quintessential Irish Halloween cake.

We all know that the brack contains a coin, and whoever finds it is supposed to become wealthy. But did you know that people once inserted various other items in it: a rag to symbolise poverty, a ring to symbolise marriage, a thimble to symbolise spinsterhood? It can all be traced back to the belief that, as the seasons changed and we found ourselves between two different states, the barriers separating our world from the next thinned, and ghosts and fairies passed with greater ease between the two. People also believed that, because of this thinner barrier, we could see into the future – hence the popularity of divination games at Halloween.

Folklore aside, do you have a cake recipe to share? And will you come along to our cake sale?

Halloween Tea Brack

  • 25g/8oz Odlums or other Self Raising Flour
  • 375g packet of Shamrock or other Fruit Mix
  • 300ml/½ pint Cold Tea
  • 125g/4oz Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg (beaten)
  • Good pinch Mixed Spice
  • Ring or other Charms
  • Honey or Golden Syrup (for decoration)

TV3's Catherine Leyden


  1. Place fruit and tea in bowl and leave to soak overnight.
  2. Add sugar, egg, flour and mixed spice and mix well.
  3. Wrap ring and any other ‘charms’ in greaseproof paper and stir into mixture.
  4. Transfer to a greased and base lined 20cm/8” round cake tin or 900g/2lb loaf tin.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven 170°C/325°F/Gas 3 for approx. one hour or until risen and firm to the touch.
  6. Cool on a wire tray. When cold, wrap in greaseproof paper and keep for two days before cutting.

Melted honey or golden syrup may be brushed over brack before cutting.

One Comment

  1. I really like the idea of the fortune telling brack (my nana used to put a button in for a bachelor, a 20p coin, a ring and a thimble). I’m definely going to try this.

    I’d love to make a brack with yeast i.e. more bready than tea cakey if that makes sense, so if anyone had a recipie – thanks

    ****Good Luck with the cake sale, hope you get loads of donations and happy customers ****