Barmbrack recipe: How to make this traditional Irish treat

If Barmbrack is on your list of things to bake, then you’re in for a treat. This delicious Barmbrack recipe cannot be overlooked.

If you are privy to a stint of baking, then this delicious Barmbrack recipe is not to be missed, especially if you like traditional Irish dishes.

Anyone who has grown up in Ireland will know that Barmbrack (Báirín Breac) is a fruit bread that is associated with Halloween.

It holds strong historical significance in Ireland, so let us tell you more about this Irish treat and how to make it at home.

What is Barmbrack? – the significance of this fruit cake

You won't want to miss this delicious Barmbrack recipe.
Credit: Instagram / @notquitenigella

First off, let’s explain what Barmbrack actually is for anyone who has never had it or has never heard of it before.

Barmbrack is commonly known simply as ‘brack’ in Ireland, and you will see this on all supermarket shelves coming up to the Halloween season. But why do we hear, you ask?

Barmbrack is at the epicentre of the Halloween customs in Ireland. The brack generally contained a variety of objects such as rings and coins, which were used as a sort of fortune-telling tradition.

Each item had a different meaning, and whoever got a slice with the said object inside would then experience certain things as listed below. If you got:

  • The pea: The person would not marry that year
  • The stick: The person would have an unhappy marriage
  • The cloth: The person would have bad luck or be poor
  • The coin: The person would enjoy good fortune or be rich
  • The ring: The person would be wed within the year
  • The bean: The person would have a future without money

Not just a Halloween tradition – popular at other times of the year

This Barmbrack recipe is not just for Halloween.
Credit: Instagram / @surgecoffeeclontarf

Barmbracks are not just traditionally associated with Halloween, though.

Around New Year’s Eve, the woman of the house was expected to bake this Irish treat. Then, the man would take three bites and throw it at the door, which would ward off poverty or starvation for the new year.

Now that you know the significance of Barmbrack to Irish culture, it’s time for us to unveil the ultimate Barmbrack recipe for you to try at home.

The ultimate Barmbrack recipe – how to make this Irish treat

Have you ever tried this delicious Irish sweet bread?
Credit: Instagram / @ruacaferua

This traditional Irish Barmbrack recipe needs plenty of time to prepare. So be sure to make this in advance (at least one to two days) if you plan to serve it up to family or friends.

Here is how to get started.


  • 375 g Mixed Dried Fruit
  • 50 ml Whiskey
  • 250 ml Cold Tea
  • One Large Egg
  • 225 g Plain flour
  • Butter, for greasing
  • 10 g Baking Powder
  • 125 g Light Brown Sugar
  • 2.5 ml Mixed Spice
  • One Optional Ring

Method – the steps to making this delicious Barmbrack recipe

Try this Barmbrack recipe for the ultimate Irish treat.
Credit: Instagram / @alexshorttlittlekitchen

Step 1:Begin by adding your mixed fruit, whiskey, and cold tea to the bowl. Then, cover and allow the fruit to soak up the flavours of the liquid overnight.

Step 2:Prepare your loaf tin by greasing it with the butter, and preheat the oven to 170 C (325 F/Gas 3).

Step 3: Next up, you will take a large mixing bowl and add your flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and mixed spice. Make a well in the middle and add in your egg. Mix it slowly with a wooden spoon until it all mixes with the dry ingredients.

If you need more liquid, add a little of the juice from the mixed fruit and continue to mix with the spoon until combined.

Step 4:It’s now time to use the mixed fruit, whiskey, and cold tea combination you prepared last night. Add this into the large mixing bowl until fully combined and until you have a wet doughy consistency. Although make sure it is not too liquidy. Don’t forget to add the ring here!

Step 5: Take your loaf tin and spoon the dough into the tin until it is all spread out and ready for the oven. Place in the oven for about one hour, keeping an eye on it through the glass to avoid it burning.

Step 6: Take the loaf tin out of the oven and let it cool. Then, slowly remove the Barmbrack and let it cool. When it is fully cool, wrap it in cling film or place it in a container. Here, you can store it for one or two days before cutting it into slices.

Step 7: When you return to your Barmbrack a couple of days later, it is ready to be sliced, buttered, and served up. Use real Irish butter to pair well with your traditional Barmbrack recipe.

So, there you are, a Barmbrack recipe that everyone will be raving about for years to come.