Old Fashioned English Tea Loaf (Dairy-Free / Egg-Free / Fat-Free)

* This recipe was originally posted in March 2014. The page was updated in August 2019.

It might be old-fashioned, but tea loaf rocks! It’s perfect for serving for ‘elevenses’ or as a mid-afternoon ‘pick me up’ with a lovely cup of tea. It also makes a tasty after-school or travel snack. This is one of my all-time favourite treats for road trips!

I have my mum’s friend to thank for the recipe. I arrived at my mum’s house one day to discover this incredible smell wafting out of the kitchen. It turned out to be this tea loaf!

Back home, I couldn’t wait to have a try at making my own. The original recipe contained egg but I omitted the egg, tweaked the wet/dry ratio a little and it turned out absolutely fine. My family can’t actually tell the difference!

As cakes go, this tea loaf is pretty healthy. It’s filled with nutrient-rich dried fruits, whole grain flour, and it’s fat free!

It’s incredibly easy to make too. You simply soak the dried fruit in a cup of tea for a few hours, then mix all the ingredients together and bake.

Old Fashioned English Tea Loaf

It might be old-fashioned, but tea loaf rocks! It's perfect for serving for 'elevenses' or as a mid-afternoon 'pick me up'. It also makes a delicious after-school and travel snack. It's incredibly easy to make. You simply soak the dried fruit in a cup of tea for a few hours, then mix all the ingredients together and bake.
5 from 10 votes
Hands-on time 10 mins
Total Time 6 hrs
Course Afternoon Tea, Dessert, Elevenses, Snack, Treat
Cuisine English
Servings 10


  • 250 ml / 1 cup strongly brewed black or green tea
  • 225 g / 1½ cups mixed dried fruit (I use raisins, sultanas, goji berries, candied citrus peel)
  • 113 g / ½ cup unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 TBSP marmalade or apricot jam
  • 227 g / 1⅔ cups fine wholemeal (whole wheat pastry) or chapatti flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or mixed spice
  • 3 TBSP water


  • Soak the dried fruit in the brewed tea for 4-5 hours (can be left overnight).
  • Grease a 2lb loaf pan and line the bottom with non-stick baking paper (or use a non-stick loaf liner).
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160C (160C for fan also) / 325F.
  • Tip the dried fruit and any remaining tea into a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and marmalade/jam. Sift in the flour, baking powder and spice. Tip any remaining wheatgerm from the sieve into the bowl. Add 3 TBSP water and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
  • Bake for 1¼ hours, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to rest in the tin for 30 minutes or so, then transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.
  • Stored in an airtight container, the loaf will keep for up to five days in the fridge. It also freezes well.
Keyword Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Tea Loaf, Vegan Cake, Vegan Treats

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If you make this Tea Loaf (or any other recipes on my blog), I’d love to hear your feedback and any suggestions for adaptations! Tag your photos with #bitofthegoodstuff on social media and they will find their way to me. You can also connect with me on my social media channels here:

With love,



Old Fashioned English Bread Pudding

74 thoughts on “Old Fashioned English Tea Loaf (Dairy-Free / Egg-Free / Fat-Free)

  1. p.s. Forgot to add that I used 2 teaspoons of baking powder per 100g of flour. My fruit was 150g raisins, 100g chopped apricots and 100g glacé cherries (these were with natural fruit colouring).

  2. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Once in a while, I used to have this in the evening but now I prefer having a hot pot of tea; variety keeps changing, sometimes I go with green tea and sometimes I prefer oolong tea. Makes me refreshed for the second half.

  3. this is a great recipe. thanks. Used something like this with all bran, but prefer this as it has less sugar. tweaked it for christmas by using mulled wine instead of tea. worked a treat! ( good for cake and a pudding!)

  4. 5 stars
    My go to breakfast recipe- I make a loaf on weekends and cut slices in the AM before leaving for work. Has withstood me fiddling with it too (e.g. using unsweetened Mango puree in lieu of jam and possibly some of the water, fresh apple chunks, etc.)!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind feedback Ursula! ❤️ I’m thrilled to hear how much you’re enjoying the recipe… AND that it withstands modifications! ☺️

  5. 5 stars
    I make this a LOT!!! I use coconut sugar, just 1/4 cup and a little sprinkled on top before baking. I add sweet cinnamon to my spice mix. It’s delicious and nobody believes me when I say its totally vegan and low sugar!!

    1. Hey Jayne, I’m so happy to hear how useful you’re finding this recipe! I love the idea of swapping the cane sugar for coconut sugar and adding a touch of cinnamon. I’m definitely going to give this a try next time! xx

      1. 5 stars
        I’ve since tried using molasses in place of jam and I now omit the sugar altogether (well…I still sprinkle a bit on top!). It totally withstands this change and gives it a new depth. I find it sweet enough with the fruit anyway – Making another batch tomorrow. Trouble is it doesn’t last long enough!! x

        1. Hey Jayne! I’m loving all the different versions you’re making of this tea loaf! I really looking forward to trying molasses instead of marmalade. I love molasses!! ☺️

  6. This is a wonderful recipe. I may post it on instagram. I used PG Tips Apple and Cinnamon tea, raspberry jam, mixed fruit, plain flour, dark brown sugar and mixed spice. The loaf turned out amazing, I can’t believe that there is no fat, egg or dairy! Thank you Sharon. xxx

    1. It’s an absolute pleasure Lauren! I’m so pleased you liked the tea loaf! ☺️ The combination of ingredients you used sounds delicious. I imagine all the loaf is gone by now, but next time you make it be sure to share a pic on Instagram. I’d love to see it!! xx

  7. 5 stars
    My partner thought all “nice “ food was a no no after having to go on a low fat diet after gallbladder disease. He can’t believe how moist and good for him this cake is. Used homemade rhubarb and ginger jam it was all I had – absolutely divine. Thank you for sharing this recipe it’s certainly put a smile back on his face !!

    1. Oh Judy, this made me smile so much!! I’m so happy to hear how much your partner enjoyed the tea loaf! It can be tricky when we have to adapt our diets for health reasons, but hopefully your partner has now seen that dietary restriction doesn’t mean he has to miss out on tasty treats! ☺️ Sending much love to you both 💕

  8. Hi Sharon
    After soaking raisins and chopped apricots over night ( that’s all I had)
    I made your Old Fashioned Tea Loaf before I set off the work this morning!
    It was delicious with a cuppa on my return.
    I will make again and for my neighbour too is dairy free.

    Many thanks

    1. So pleased you enjoyed it Sue! I can just imagine how lovely it was to sit down with a cuppa and slice of tea loaf after work ☺️ Such a kind thought to bake one for your neighbour too! ❤️

  9. I made it with wholemeal bread flour. I used the left over tea in. I forgot to put in margarine. I used leftover gin jam from Xmas. I didn’t use any sugar. It was beautiful and everyone ❤️ enjoyed it. It was good not to have to use yeast. We are all vegan so it was mmmmm. Thx 👍

    1. So pleased that you all enjoyed the tea loaf and that your substitutions worked out! This recipe sure is proving to be versatile! 😄 And yes, it’s good that it doesn’t need yeast as it’s proving to be pretty hard to come by these days! #quarantinebaking ❤️

  10. 5 stars
    I had apricots, raisins, cranberries and a few dried dates but only had blueberry jam and cake and pastry flour. Turned out wonderfully. Working from home here in British Columbia with lots of time for baking new recipes. Thanks.

    1. Hey Eric! Thank you so much for your kind feedback. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the Tea Loaf and that your substitutions worked out! And yes, that’s one of the good things that’s come out of working from home during lockdown… we now have the time to enjoy home baking 😄
      Take care and stay safe! xx

  11. Just about to make this cake now as it sounds delicious but I have only got self raising flour. Do I still need baking powder?

    1. Hey Christine! I’m so sorry I didn’t manage to reply to your comment on April 30. Did you go ahead and bake the Tea Loaf with the self raising flour? I imagine it would work out fine without the baking powder, but I haven’t tried it myself yet (I may have to this weekend as I only have self raising flour left!)

  12. 5 stars
    Hi Sharon…
    Just adapted your recipe by adding left over homemade mincemeat (for your soaked raisins) in this recipe – and used gram flour. Still added the water at the end … it has come out perfect! Still some mincemeat left so ill be making this again! Thank you!


    1. Hey Susan, so lovely to hear from you! I hope you and the family are keeping well! ❤️ I’m so pleased the tea loaf worked out for you. What a great way to use up your leftover mincemeat! It’s brilliant to hear that chickpea flour worked as a substitute for the wholemeal (thus making the loaf gluten free 🌟). This recipe sure is proving flexible! 😄

  13. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I had no wholemeal flour so used white, and I doubled the amount of mixed spice as we’re big fans – came out lovely, though I might have to get some wholemeal in especially for next time. It made an excellent post-swimming lesson snack for the kids, and garnered rave reviews!

  14. 5 stars
    I only had sultana’s in the cupboard, didn’t have any jam either but the result was amazing. Best fruit loaf I have made since being vegan. My mum couldn’t believe it had no fat in it and it was vegan!! Will definitely be making again

  15. Love, love this, have added dried apricots (as others) and dates.
    Also use less sugar replacing with local honey (but that might just be my palate!) 😊

  16. Hi Sharon,
    Here’s a thing I to have been experimenting by reducing the amount of sugar going into the tea loaf! I’m down to 60grms of sugar to date and the loaf tastes great…….I will go to 50 next time!
    Be safe

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