Fruited Holiday Tea Loaf

by AmyCakes of Cambridge Mass.


Yield: Three loaves
Categories: Muffins, Tea loaves & Quickbreads
Equipment:3 loaf pans (4"x 9"x 3"deep)


  • 1-3/4 pounds diced dried fruits (chose among raisins, dried cherries,
        cranberries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, pears, dates, figs, apples,
        pineapple, candied cherries, citron, lemon peel, orange peel,
        crystallized ginger, etc.)
  • 2 ounces orange juice (1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup eggs
  • 1-7/8 cups oil
  • 2 cups sugar (1 pound, 2 ounces)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups (sifted) cake flour (12 ounces)
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 10 ounces chopped nuts (pecans and walnuts)


1. Sprinkle the juice over the fruit and set it aside. The juice will be absorbed while the rest of the ingredients are mixed.

2. In the mixer bowl, blend the first three ingredients. Sift the other dry ingredients together, reserving about a cup of flour, and add alternately with the milk. This batter stores well under refrigeration or freezing, Toss the remaining flour with the nuts and soaked fruit. This is called "dredging." Coating the fruit with dry flour traps air, which makes it buoyant in the thick liquid until the batter solidifies.

Notes: I line my loaf-pans with brown paper or baker's pan liner with pan grease. That way they slip right out of the pan, already wrapped, and the pan needs very little scrubbing. Grocery bags are fine for this. There is enough batter for three loaf pans.

You can fill the pans, freeze it raw and stack the wrapped bricks in the freezer. The night before you want to serve it (fresh-baked) drop it back in the pan to thaw in the refrigerator.

Rest it for half an hour before baking, to counteract any overmixing. Overmixing creates a tougher product with large teardrop shaped air pockets, called tunnels.

3. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

The loaf will rise evenly and develop a crease down the center. It will "skin" before it finishes rising, splitting open at the crease and doming. When you check for doneness, look into this crack. The batter should be golden.

Serve it with choice of sweet butter or cream cheese. A dollop or rosette of cream cheese icing would work well, too. Come to think of it, I wouldn't object to a saucer of lemon curd, either. Since it's kind of a cross between a fruit cake and a muffin, lots of English and New England sorts of accompaniments should work (Hard sauce, Ginger Cream) for a snack.


Muffins and Quickbreads



© 1997, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.

This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

Modified August 2007

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