YORKSHIRE Day is just around the corner and sadly this year lots of events have been cancelled, so there is no excuse not to get baking and celebrate the day at home with your family.

I have a great passion for all Yorkshire baking and food, and love baking Yorkshire tea loaves for the special day.

They are known as Irish Brack to the Irish or Bara Brith to the Welsh, and there could be other regional names I don't know about.

I'm Yorkshire born and bred, and no matter what the recipe I am trying to manipulate may be called, it certainly isn't Irish Brack in my house.

Sadly, every now and then a niche product stops being made due to a total lack of demand.

This certainly happened a few years ago to Taylors Yorkshire tea loaves, which stopped being a bestseller at my workplace. To this day I get narky customers 'playin' pop'.

This classic Yorkshire bake was discontinued due to the ever-rising costs of raw materials, meaning it could no longer compete with all the other cake ranges available.

Raw materials? This is a cake we're talking about, not a fighter plane!

The "rare and expensive'' materials we are talking about are raisins, currants, cherries, eggs, flour, spices, sugar and a cup of Yorkshire Tea.

Tea is a British institution and I'm sure it helps by drinking gallons of the stuff a day just to function.

There's no other tea like Yorkshire Tea when your flagging – what better to accompany this than a big wedge of tea loaf and Wensleydale cheese sitting down after doing the ironing?

What also surprises me about taking this product off sale in these economic hard times, is that the cake is very much vogue with Yorkshire tykes who have an affection for good grub.

I don't know the etiquette when cake is no more. Should I be lowering my flag to half mast? Should I get a priest round to mumble ashes to ashes, crumbs to crumbs?

And once a suitable period cake mourning has elapsed - should I be reaching out for granny's old recipe book to bring another traditional Yorkshire bake back into the limelight.

And should I peg the used tea bags on the washing line for a second dip?

Now drying out tea bags is not something I usually do.

Is anybody still doing it today? Is it worthwhile? How many cups can you get? I would love to know.

Have a great Yorkshire day and make the most of it with a welly wanging contest in the back garden!

Recipe for Yorkshire Tea Loaf

2lb loaf 


300ml/10oz boiling water from the kettle

4 Yorkshire tea bags, new or reused

275g/10oz plain flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons mixed spices

150g/5oz caster sugar

110g/4oz brown sugar

350g/12oz  mixed dried fruits

1 egg, lightly beaten

Good slug of whisky, rum, brandy, or even gin - optional extra in Yorkshire only

Zest and juices from a small lemon, optional


1. Pop the kettle on and carefully measure out the boiling water into a large mixing bowl.

2. Place four Yorkshire tea bags into the boiling water and allow to steep for five minutes, stirring occasionally, then discard the tea bags and peg them out on the washing line.

3. Stir in the caster sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest and juices with the alcohol of choice. Cover with cling film and set aside to soak overnight at room temperature.

4. When you are ready to bake your cake, butter and parchment line a 2lb loaf tin and preheat the oven to 160c/Gas Mark 3.

5. In a large mixing bowl, sift over the flour, baking powder and mixed spices and drain the liquid from the plumped fruits, combining well with the beaten egg.

6. Slowly stir in the fruits taking care not to over-mix because the mixture will be fairly wet. Then spoon out the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.

7. Bake your cake in the middle of the oven for around 90 minutes until well risen and firm, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out cleanly.

8. Allow to cool fully in the tin before carefully removing, and serve up with lashings of best butter and a big slice of Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese and a brew of Yorkshire tea!