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Vegan Gluten-Free Welsh Fruit Bread (Bara Brith)

Vegan gluten-free Welsh fruit bread (bara brith) gets a makeover with a combination of almond flour and chickpea flour.

a loaf of welsh fruit bread (bars brith) in a white dish atop a blue and white background

Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite quick breads: Bara Brith.

Bara Brith is a traditional Welsh bread loaded with dried fruit that has been soaked in tea. The name literally translates to “speckled bread,” because every slice is polka-dotted with the dried fruit.

Much like chocolate chip cookies here in the U.S., recipes for bara brith vary tremendously, but the constants are always tea-soaked dried fruit and a mixture of spices.

I am part Welsh so I feel I am justifies in adding a variations of my own creation: a vegan, grain-free and gluten-free version bara brith made with almond flour and chickpea flour.

Recipe Benefits

This new take on a classic is all of the following:

  • Vegan (dairy-free and egg-free)
  • Gluten-free
  • Grain-free
  • Yeast-free
  • Quick and easy to make
  • High in fiber
  • Delicious!
a loaf of slice bara brith, Welsh fruit bread, on a wood cutting board

Ingredients for Vegan Gluten-Free Welsh Fruit Bread

The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.

  • black tea bags (strong black tea)
  • orange zest
  • mixed chopped dried fruit (e.g., apricots, raisins, cherries, dates)
  • chickpea flour, sifted if lumpy
  • blanched almond flour
  • coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • baking powder (grain-free, as needed)
  • baking soda
  • sweet spices (cinnamon ginger, nutmeg, cardamom)
  • vegan (plant-based) butter (or vegetable oil)
  • lemon juice or vinegar

Types of Dried Fruit for Welsh Fruit Bread

I used a combination of dried fruit from my pantry: more or less equal amounts of raisins, dates, apricots and cranberries. Use whatever combination you like, but aim for a combination of at least two fruits.

mixed variety of chopped dried fruits on a slate board

Some bara brith breads have loads of spices, while others have a mere hint. I am partial to the middle ground. You can use a pre-made spice blend such as pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice, but I created my own blend using cinnamon, ginger, cardamom (my obsession), and nutmeg.

Orange zest is optional, but I like it. My version calls for finely chopping the zest and soaking it with the tea and fruit. The boiling water releases the oils and infuses the fruit with a subtle orange essence.

spices and flavorings for bar brith on a piece of slate

How to Make Welsh Fruit Bread

Note that the complete directions are also in the recipe card below.

  • In a large bowl combine boiling water, tea bags and orange zest. Let brew for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and zest.
  • Add the dried fruit and let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight. Do not drain.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180C). Line a 9×5-inch (22.5×12.5 cm) baking pan with parchment, letting paper overhang on sides. Lightly grease or spray (with nonstick cooking spray) the paper.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the chickpea flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg.
  • Add the soaked fruit and tea (all the liquid), melted plant butter, and vinegar, stirring until well-blended.
  • Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan. Use paper overhang to remove bread from pan. Cut into 16 slices.
a loaf of sliced bara brith, Welsh fruit bread

Storage for the Vegan Bara Brith

The Welsh fruit bread keeps well in the refrigerator and freezes beautifully, too. Store the cooled bread in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 1 week, the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or the freezer for up to 6 months.

I can attest that a cup of tea is the perfect accompaniment. You can also enjoy it as a not-too-sweet dessert, or as a power snack any time.

Related Recipes

Yield: 1 loaf

Vegan Gluten-Free Welsh Fruit Bread (Bara Brith)

a loaf of welsh fruit bread (bars brith) in a white dish atop a blue and white background

Vegan gluten-free Welsh fruit bread (bara brith) gets a makeover but retains its wonderful flavor. Ths version is made with a combination of almond flour and chickpea flour.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (473 mL) boiling water
  • 3 black tea bags (strong black tea)
  • Peeled zest of 1 small orange
  • 1-1/2 cups mixed chopped dried fruit (e.g., apricots, raisins, cherries, dates)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180 g) chickpea flour, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (140 g) blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or packed brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder (grain-free, as needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) vegan (plant-based) butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine boiling water, tea bags and orange zest. Let brew for 5 minutes.Remove tea bags and zest. Add the dried fruit and let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight. Do not drain
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180C). Line a 9x5-inch (22.5x12.5 cm) baking pan with parchment, letting paper overhang on sides. Lightly grease or spray (with nonstick cooking spray) the paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the chickpea flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg. Add the soaked fruit and tea (all the liquid), melted plant butter, and vinegar, stirring until well-blended.
  4. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan. Use paper overhang to remove bread from pan. Cut into 16 slices.

Notes

Storage: Store the cooled bread in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 1 week, the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Butter Tip: An equal amount of vegetable oil can be used in place of the plant butter, or regular butter if not vegan.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1/16 of loaf

Amount Per Serving Calories 108Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 173mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 2gSugar 18gProtein 1g

The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although powerhungry.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands and optional ingredients can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.

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Kebba Buckley Button

Sunday 19th of December 2021

I love your recipes! Do you have a newsletter you could sign me up for?

Charlie

Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

I have made this again, weighing carefully and drain all the liquid off the dried fruit and it still falls in the middle and does not look like yours.

We LOVE the taste, but just wondering what I am doing wrong.

Charlie

Charlie

Saturday 6th of March 2021

I have made this at least 4 times and it satisfies my taste for fruit cake.

But I can not get it to slice like yours.

It falls in the middle and is not firm. I have measured and weighed the flour.

HELP

Christine Kerrigan

Saturday 27th of July 2019

What Have I done? I have made the Almond Bara Brith today and I can see I am now going to be making a few more. It was lovely.

Camilla

Saturday 27th of July 2019

I am so glad you are enjoying it, Christine! I know what you mean--make me a pot of tea and I can nibble my way through multiple slices!

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