Rick Stein’s fruity loaf recipe is fat free – ‘best with a cup of tea’

loaf blends the delicious tartness of fruit with the fragrant flavour of tea to create a delicious sponge.

There are endless recipes out there for this British classic, but Cornwall-based chef Rick Stein has one of his own, inspired by the beloved coastal county he calls home.

Though traditionally served with steaming hot cups of Earl Grey and slathered in thick layers of butter, Rick’s tea cake is a little lighter.

Sharing the recipe for his guilt-free bake in an episode of his BBC show, Rick Stein’s Cornwall, the chef revealed that it is his “firm belief” that a slice of the dense bread is “the perfect pairing for a cup of tea, ever”.

He said: “A really important point about this tea cake is there’s no fat in it. So you might be able to have your cup of tea and slice of tea cake and feel good about it!”


While many people enjoy the loaf plain, Rick serves his with plenty of butter and a homemade plum compote for extra flavour. To make the compote, you will need approximately 500g plums (or damsons), stoned, and approximately 300g caster sugar.

For the actual cake, start by brewing a strong pot of tea by steeping the bags for 10 minutes. Then take a large mixing bowl and pour in 350g of mixed fruit and the fresh lemon zest.

A little orange zest can be added here too, or another citrus fruit like lime or grapefruit. Next, pour the strong tea into the bowl of fruit and gently stir before leaving the mixture to steep for three hours to “plump all the fruit up”.

For the cake mixture, combine two eggs with 200g of light brown sugar in a bowl using a wooden spoon.

Stir in the sieved flour and the mixed spice before pouring in the tea-soaked fruit and mixing everything.

Quickly grease a loaf tin sized 23cm x 13cm x 18cm (one-litre capacity), then carefully pour the cake batter into the grease-lined tin.

Bake for up to one hour and 30 minutes at 160-180C until the cake appears golden brown. Use a skewer to test the core of the mixture and see if it comes out clean.

Remove the cooked cake and leave it in the tin for 15 minutes before turning it onto a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the compote by mixing the stoned plums in a pan with a tiny splash of water if fresh (it is not needed for defrosted fruit), then add the sugar and stir over low heat until dissolved.

At this point, the temperature should be increased to boil until the mixture is jammy. Pour the finished compote into a sterilised jar, or allow to cool and use immediately spooned onto the warm buttered tea loaf.

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