Wales Tradition Honors St. David With Bara Brith Welsh Tea Cake

May 16, 2012
Written by Rita Cook in
Latest News, The Welcoming Table
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The Wales tradition of baking Bara Brith Welsh Tea Cake to honor St. David. Photo Credit:

It’s a celebration that in Wales is as big a deal as St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. St. David’s Day on March 1 every year is all about feasting and parades in the street. Even more important though, eating Wale’s Bara Brith Welsh Tea Cake.

According to The Petit Four website, the day honors the prophecy surrounding St. David and the day Wales was freed of all Saxons. No surprise that the Brits might turn their nose up at this celebration even today, but the Welsh are fiercely loyal to their tradition just the same.

The Bara Brith Welsh Tea Cake that is such an important part of St. David’s Day is also called “speckled bread,” when not called Bara Brith, the former reference being the original Welsh language name.

The bread is either a yeast bread made with dried fruit or what in America might be called a fruitcake. For the most part, it is made from self-rising flour and not yeast. Most of the time Bara Brith is made with raisins, currants, and candied peel.

With many types of recipes to make this popular bread, the original recipe sold in Wales offers just a limited shelf life since Bara Brith is supposed to be eaten on St. David’s Day or soon thereafter. After all, part of the fun of St. David’s Day each year is about eating and taking part in the many aspects of the day’s celebration.

Recipe: Spread butter or jam on the cake and enjoy this Wales tradition.

½ pound self raising flour
½ pound sultanas or any other dried fruit
2 ounces melted butter
2 ounces Demerara sugar
1 dessert spoon of marmalade
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
6 fluid ounces hot tea
1 large egg

First of all, be sure to soak the fruit in the tea overnight. Preheat oven to 300, place flour, spice, and sugar in the bowl. Melt butter and marmalade together. Beat egg, and mix all the ingredients together and stir well. Place mixture in a 1 1/2 pound loaf tin and bake 20 minutes or until brown.


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