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. This looks delicious Sharon and so easy to convert to gluten free!! We love fruit cake and I’m sure this would be a good one to try to convert, my husband would LOVE it!

    1. Vicky, if you try a GF version of this loaf, please do post it on your blog and I’ll link to it. I once tried baking my Cinnamon & Raisin loaf with GF flour and it turned out as hard as a brick. I’ve seriously had no joy at all with GF baking so far, but I’d love to crack it one day x

      1. Definitely making this- I’ve never tried soaking fruit in tea. Going to try matcha tea and substitute flour with a mix of buckwheat, almond and spelt. Thank you x

          1. Hi
            The flour subs work well.
            My whole family love this cake.
            So quick and easy to rustle up after soaking the raisins.
            Thanks again X

            1. Fia can you please provide your measurements you used for the buckwheat, almond and spelt? Would love to know and if you made any other changes. I just made this for a elderly lady. I increased the amount of sugar (per her request) and added dried cranberries. It smells great!!

      2. Sharon.and that is my 3thrd name! I am a celìac myself..so the secret to wonderful fruit loafsis Less flour, gassifed water, to bring up the mixture, to 200grs of common flour-150grs rice flour, realacing part of any liquid with any soda water-and of course half the amount backing powder! i just love fruit cakes,steamed or in the ovenas well as banana loaf with spices!

    2. I have adapted a similar cake to vegan, cain sugar free, Gluten free
      375g mixed fruit Prunes, dates, cranberries, raisins
      1 tsp Bicarb
      1 tsp baking soda GF
      1/2 large carrot grated
      1/2 cup oil
      1 cup tea water
      Cinnamon and nutmeg
      3 tablespoon flax-seed blended with 4 tablespoon water leave for 15 mins then add 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon lemon
      1/2 cup coconut flour
      1/2 cup almond meal
      1 cup gluten free SR flour
      Chop fruit and place in pan with water, oil and bring to the boil. then add Bicarb. It will froth a little. take off heat and cool.
      Mix dry ingredients
      Add flaxseed and grated carrot to fruit mix then add flour gradually
      Place in patti tins and bake on 160 for approx 15 mins. Can be frozen
      This was adapted by me from a recipe that required 1 cup sugar, 3 eggs and flour. If it’s not sweet enough for you add 1/2 cup coconut sugar or honey

  2. Yum Yum Yum! What a lovely bake! Like your little lad, my Mr. always has a bit of space for something to munch on – this would be perfect. I love the fact it’s so easy to do too 😉

  3. I love fruity cakes, my all-time favorite is probably blueberry cake! Your English tea loaf looks beautiful and delicious with a lovely cup of tea and I love goji berries in your loaf! Have a lovely week, Sharon!

  4. Made your tea loaf today. My husband is working out in a field tomorrow, so wanted to do one for the pack-up. We are trying to go vegan, but the food thing is an awful struggle despite me being 37 years vegetarian. The loaf is FANTASTISCHE! Recommend highly! Thank you!!

  5. Just made this after soaking my fruit all day! I halved the quantity because I didn’t have enough fruit – 50 mins at 160 was perfect in a fan assisted oven. I also didn’t have wholewheat flour so added a bit of flax seed and subbed the marmalade for a bit of syrup as I didn’t have that either – (but it could have done without it). Delicious and simple! It’s nearly all gone and will definitely be making again!! Thank you 🙂 pxxxxx

      1. Hey Paula! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving feedback. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the cake so much and it’s great to hear that your subs worked out.
        It’s fantastic to hear that you’re loving your new vegan lifestyle! Honestly, reading your comment made me smile so much 😀 If you have any recipe requests, don’t hesitate to get in touch xx

  6. I can’t wait to make this cake and have soaked the fruit overnight as suggested, but could you let me know – is the flour plain or self-raising as it does not say. Sorry, still a beginner at baking.

    1. Hi Debra. It’s plain flour – white or wholemeal is fine. Excited to hear you’re planning on trying this cake. Do let me know how you get on.

      1. Hi, yes I opted for plain wholemeal and it is in the oven at the minute, so hopefully it will taste alright.

  7. Made a slight variation on this x2 for a post-hilly-half-marathon picnic last month. “Kev’s Cake” was a hit, and it’s all thanks to you! We’ve got a 24-hour relay race in a few weeks, I’m going to experiment a little and hope to fuel myself for most of the day and night with this power runners cake, I might even share some again. Maybe. So thank you! 🙂

    1. Hey Kevin. I’m thrilled to hear ‘Kev’s Cake’ was a hit at the picnic! What a tasty (and healthy!) way to refuel after a half marathon 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by to let me know. It really made me smile reading your feedback x

  8. Hi Sharon, great to see you reply as I’m currently making 3 more of these today. The original ones were basically to the recipe, just less sugar and I added nutmeg and vanilla, and I added more tea instead of water at the end. With later attempts I definitely lacked here as the results were too dry and nowhere near as satisfying as the first.

    Today I’m following the recipe with 2 cakes and a 3rd, probably likely to end in disaster, is my attempt to replace some of my usual breakfast with something more practical when camping/running/not sleeping. There’s about 2/3 of a cup of oats and equal measures of linseed and chia seeds blitzed into a pasty dust with a nutribullet, a few scoops of chocolate flavoured protein powder and LOTS more tea as chia is a very thirsty seed indeed. (Each day my breakfast is porridge made with chia and linseed the same way with rice milk). This one will be my breakfast/lunch cake during the 24 hour race this weekend. Disaster or not, it’ll have to be eaten!

    Thanks again for the reply.

    1. Wow! Well I hope the cakes turned out okay for you and kept you fuelled through the weekend! I’m so impressed that you bake for your races. Years ago when I did a couple of 24 hour bike races I never even considered making my own food. I survived on sugary shop-bought bars and it wasn’t a pleasant experience at all. Home made is definitely the way to go 😉

  9. Can I use mini loaf pans to bake? I have a pan that that in 6 mini loaf pan in it so that would mean dividing the mixture into 6 mini loaves.

  10. Made this today.Fabulous!!Have to be honest though,only put a couple of teaspoonfuls of sugar in the mix.Made the eight ounces of fruit up with Gogi berries,walnuts,cranberries and sultanas,worked a treat.Also used cinnamon and ground cloves for the spices.Yummy.Will definitely make again.😄😄

    1. Oh wonderful! I’m so pleased it worked out for you! Love the combination of fruits and spices that you used. I’ll have to give it a try myself 🙂

  11. I’ve made this 4 times more in 2 weeks. It’s delicious, thank you so much. I increased everything by 50% for a bigger cake tin. I used 100% whole beremeal flour from Orkney, which gives a lovely dense texture but is still a very light tea bread. Perfect after a bike ride or a run.

    1. So happy to hear how much you’re enjoying this recipe! 😊 It does make a great post-exercise treat doesn’t it? I love to stash some in my backpack if I’m going out on a longer bike ride.

      I’ve never heard of beremeal flour before so I must look it up. I’m intrigued!

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