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Irish Hawthorn Barmbrack

Our take on this delightful divination cake involves a hearty helping of Hawthorn berries. As explored in our latest book, Hedgerow Festival, this is well regarded as the most magical tree in Ireland- well suited to a cake as mystical as this one.
If using Hawthorn Berries, be sure to remove the pips as they contain a form of cyanide. A pip or two won't harm you, but a cake-full might!


  • 3-4 Cups Hawthorn Berries (de-pipped), Or Raisins
  • 1/2 Cup Roughly Chopped Hazelnuts
  • 1 1/3 Cups Brown Sugar
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Cups Strong Black Tea Hot
  • 2 Eggs Beaten
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 tsp Warming Winter Spices (like cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg)
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 3 Cups Self-raising flour
  • Charms


  • To get started, we’re going to slightly dehydrate your de-pipped hawthorn berries- this will help them to take up the flavour of the tea later. Simply pop them in the oven on a low heat until the dry out and wrinkle a little
  • Next, we’ll soak the nuts and berries. Grab a bowl and pour in your berries, nuts, spices, sugar and hot tea. Give it a stir to dissolve the sugar and cover with a clean tea towel.
    The longer you soak the berries, the juicier the final cake will be. We recommend soaking them overnight, but anything over an hour will do.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Whisk together your flour, baking powder and pinch of salt.
  • Slowly add in your berry-tea mix, whisking between additions.
  • Whisk in your egg until well combined.
  • Pour your batter into a prepared baking tin. Add your charms by pushing them into the cake a little.
  • Bake for 80-90 minutes, until the cake is lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.