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Sugarless Honey Tea Bread

The temptation to do a vegan recipe for this round of Sugar High Friday was high, with a theme of avoiding sugar from our host, Sam, of Becks N Posh. I considered going this route for some time before choosing not to. Honestly, I make quite a few vegan recipes and often simply experiment with them because the challenge of baking without eggs is fun for me.

I specifically wanted to find a nonvegan recipe for this event, as it would give me a chance to experiment in baking without sugar, without taking into account anything else. Interestingly enough, though I’m certain that many other participants will find recipes to fit the theme, there did not seem to be a huge number of non-vegan recipes that didn’t use sugar at all.

I chose this Honey Tea Bread for its simplicity, as it only has a few ingredients (except for the spices, of course) and no added fat. It seemed almost too good to be tru to have a recipe for this even that was low in both fat and sugar, and yet this bread turned out to be delicious. It was easy to make and had plenty of sweetness, both from the honey, the tea and the dried fruit. I used Rooibos Vanilla tea, but a chai or other sweet-spiced tea would work very well in this recipe, too. The loaf has a crisp crust and a soft interior when it is freshly baked and makes fantastic toast, with a little bit of butter and extra honey optional, of course.

Honey Tea Bread
(from Waitrose Illustrated )
1 1/4- 1 1/3 cup raisins and dried cherries
1 1/4 cups strong, hot tea (I used Rooibos Vanilla)
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Place raisins and cherries in a large bowl. Pour strong, warm tea over the and stir in the honey. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 1/2-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Stir two eggs into raisin mixture.
In a small bowl, mix flour, spices, salt and baking powder. Add to raisin mixture and stir thoroughly. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
Turn loaf out of pan and cool on a wire rack.
Makes one loaf.

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20 Comments
  • Alice
    January 27, 2006

    This sounds fabulous, Nic! The thing I made for this SHF was a total flop…but I’ll be glad to read everyone else’s entries to find some good low sugar sweets!

  • Randi
    January 27, 2006

    I made your pie filling, but I called it a mouse. Mine was just ever so slightly different. Still good though, I didnt add any sugar, just some maple syrup and even that was too much. I think because I used some almond flavored tofu.

  • mari
    January 27, 2006

    Hi Nic, I’m always on the lookout for great sugar-free recipes and this one looks great. I think I’m going to try cranberries, however. I’ve seen these orange-flavored cranberry packs at Trader Joe’s that look tempting. By the way, I tried your banana scone recipe recently. Absolutely. Delicious.

  • Tokyoastrogirl
    January 27, 2006

    This looks so delicious!! If I wasn’t on my low-carb diet I would eat this up in a second. I’ll have to make it when I get to Phase 3…if I can wait that long *sigh*

  • Randi
    January 27, 2006

    Nic, Robin just brought me home a bunch of the new Food and Drinks( Winter 2006). I’ll send one off to you on Monday.

  • J
    January 27, 2006

    hi nic, if anyone could rise to this sugarless challenge with grace and gusto, you would, you baking queen you! this loaf looks so fabulous no one will ever miss the sugar

  • Cathy
    January 27, 2006

    Nic – this looks wonderful! It has surprisingly little honey too, though I guess the dried fruits would add sweetness. I like that you used a mixture of fruits – do I see light and dark raisins too?

  • Michele
    January 27, 2006

    Looks delicious!

  • Anne
    January 28, 2006

    Yum, that looks really good! 🙂

  • Nic
    January 28, 2006

    Cathy – I used golden raisins, red raisins and dark raisins, in addition to dried sweet cherries. I know there are a lot of non-raisin lovers out there, but I’m not one of them!

  • Andrea
    January 28, 2006

    Wow! I used a recipe from Waitrose too. 🙂
    Your teacake sounds really nice. Just what I usually want to eat with my hubbie with a coffee.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  • Joe
    January 28, 2006

    I love the different varieties of dried fruit! Sounds so good!

  • Clare Eats
    January 29, 2006

    What a yummy sounding recipe! I love the idea of all the dried fruit 🙂

  • Niki
    January 29, 2006

    Oooh, cake made with tea. I like!!

  • Sam
    January 29, 2006

    great job – i wonder if i could use other dry fruits instead of raisins (you know I have a raisin problem), maybe cranberries and apricots. I can’t help thinking it would be nice toasted with a bit of butter, but erhmm, that kind of spoils the healthy equation. I love waitrose and often use their website. I love all the links they have in their online recipes. it’s almost like a blog!

  • Pille
    January 31, 2006

    Hi Nic – this looks good! Waitrose seems to have quite a few sugarless cake recipes – I should have also just tried one of those instead of trying to invent a parsnip cake. Silly me:)

  • Jaime
    February 13, 2006

    Hey Nic – I made this for breakfast this weekend, and I was a little disappointed. Maybe the problem was I didn’t have any sweet tea around, so I just used plain English Breakfast, but it just isn’t very tasty. I’ll have to try again with different tea. It’s still worth the effort, especially when you get creative with spreads. Thanks!

  • ellemeno
    September 7, 2006

    Nic- could walnuts and/or pecans be added to this?

  • Nic
    September 7, 2006

    Sure! Stir in 1/4 – 1/2 cup just before pouring into the pan.

  • Jaime
    October 24, 2007

    I’ve made this before and loved it, and now I’m wondering if the recipe would work in muffin form? I’d love to be able to grab a compact muffin of this and run out the door! I’m thinking of trying the bread recipe, divided up into 6 jumbo-sized muffins. I’m curious to know if you’ve ever tried making quickbread recipes in muffins before? Do I need to reduce or increase the baking time?

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