Baking,  Fruit,  Recipes,  Sweet

Sugarfree Tea Cake

This sugarfree tea cake is lower in fat than normal cakes and yet remains moist thanks to the addition of tea. I also have a new competition for my readers!

Hands up, who likes cake?

Who likes sugarfree cake that doesn’t compromise on flavour & stays moist and fresh for up to 5 days in a sealed dry container?

Who likes tea?

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a self confessed tea addict. Cake with tea in it is perhaps one of my great passions.

So when Robert Roberts announced that they had won not just a few but no more than 10 Great Taste Awards 2012 I knew that it could only be good news. The highest award that can be received, 3 star accreditation was awarded to their Java Beans Coffee. A great achievement for an Irish company considering only 120 products received this in 2012.

One of my greatest memories of making and drinking tea with my grandmother are of spooning the leaves from the Campbell’s Tea tin. In fact I commented upon it to a fellow blogger a while back. Hello Móna! I had no idea until recently that it was still being manufactured in Ireland and I’m delighted that it won an award this year.

To celebrate, Robert Roberts have given me not 1 but 2 fabulous hampers to award to my lucky readers. Each hamper will contain 2 Robert Roberts gift boxes with some of their award winning teas, coffees and herbal teas as well as a tea pot and Cafetiere.

This competition is limited to Irish Residents. 1 entry per person. Entrants must answer a test of skill and all correct entries will go into a random selection draw.

How To Enter

Tell me below who used the former Grafton Street Cafe as the meeting point for their PEN Literary Society?

Hint – you will find the information on the Robert Roberts Website.

Like Robert Roberts Facebook Page & the Wholesome Ireland Facebook Page for good measure! It’s not obligatory but it’s always nice to see new faces.

The competition will end at midday on Monday 17 September.

Don’t forget if you’d like to keep up to date with the blog you can subscribe to get an email everytime I post a new recipe by using the box to the right hand side of the page.

Now to the recipe!


  • 150g softened butter
  • 200g semolina flour
  • 2 free range eggs (medium)
  • 300g mixed dried fruit
  • 200ml freshly brewed tea of your choice (I recommend a strong tea like Campbell’s)


  • 1 loaf tin or bundt tin
  • Spray oil for greasing
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 medium bowl
  • Chopping Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Slotted spoon
  • Cooling Rack


  1. Make a pot of tea and leave to cool slightly.
  2. Chop your dried fruit into bite sized pieces if using prunes/apricots/figs. There’s no need to chop sultanas, raisins or cranberries. Note, for this cake I used a mixture of all these fruits but you can use just one.
  3. Place the prepared dried fruit into the medium bowl and cover with the freshly brewed tea.
  4. Leave to stand for at least 1 hour.
  5. After an hour preheat your (fan) oven to 160 degrees Celcius. There is a reason for such a low temperature, I’m coming to that!
  6. Grease your tin using a spray oil.
  7. Place the butter, semolina flour and eggs into the large bowl and beat together with the spoon.
  8. It takes about 5 mins for this stage until you get a batter.
  9. Next using the slotted spoon remove the fruit from the tea and put into the batter.
  10. Stir well.
  11. The batter will be very wet. The semolina flour will soak up the liquid as the cake bakes. This is also the reason for the low oven temperature as it takes the semolina longer to cook than a normal cake flour would. On the bonus side it takes longer to digest this cake, making it low GI.
  12. Pour the batter into the loaf tin or bundt tin.
  13. Bake in the oven for at 1 hour.
  14. After 1 hour remove the tin from the oven and place the whole tin onto a cooling rack for a further hour.
  15. When the cake has cooled it should have contracted enough to come out of the tin with ease.
  16. You can serve this with a bit of butter slathered on top but I just love it with another cup of tea!

Please note: This blogpost is not sponsored. My opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them. The hamper has been sponsored for the benefit of my readers.

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


  • LaCuochina

    The answer is (I’m quite sure, not completely but here we go 😀 ): Lady Gregory​.
    For what concern the cake, I like this kind of low fat cakes you can make for your tea or also for breakfast or whatever.

  • Deirdre Wyvern

    Lady Gregory apparently! Interesting. I also remember the Campbell’s Tin and keep threatening to buy my own. Though that would mean running down my cache of teas and coffees, some day it will happen.

    • Wholesome Ireland

      It’s far cheaper to buy in an Asian Foodstore but you will always find it in the baking section of the supermarket as regular Semolina. Often used to make a milk pudding for winter evenings! Thanks Marie Therese

  • Marina

    Lady Gregory! Now, is semolina flour another name for semolina? Have to give this recipe a go!

  • diabeticmum

    The answer is Lady Gregory, This cake looks so moist, will have to give it a try , love the fact you use tea to soak the fruit .

  • Josephine M

    Lady Gregory​ used the café as a meeting point for her PEN literary society. It is always nice to have a cup of tea and this tea cake would be compliment it

  • Peggy

    Lady gregory used the café! Great cake! The great thing about this cake is that it is guilt free really! One or two slices maybe more!

  • Colette

    Gorgeous looking cake, and a good amount of fruit too! I would have to enter a competition where there is tea involved. Lady Gregory is the answer 🙂

  • Judith Whelan

    Already a fan of Wholesome Ireland & Robert Roberts
    Ans : Lady Gregory
    <3 the recipe – must try it soon

  • Caroline

    New to the facebook page. Just liked it now. love tea and cake so I must try this. The answer is : Lady gregory

  • Frosty

    Made tea cake yesterday, enjoying the fruits of my labour with a cup of tea this morning. So so tasty

  • Caroline Caffrey

    Lady Gregory, definitely going to try this recipe for my husband this week as its his birthday and he his a tea addict !!

  • Nora

    Lady Gregory used the former Grafton Street Cafe as the meeting point for their PEN Literary Society, this cake sounds delicious, can’t wait to try it out

  • val93

    Thanks for this recipe. I tried it, but it didn’t work very well for me. Followed your directions and after 1 hour at 160 degrees it was dark brown with liquid butter floating around the edges. What could I have done wrong? I’d really like this to work as the flavour was good. I used Becel. Would appreciate your help.
    Many thanks,

    • Wholesome Ireland

      Hi there Val. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve never heard of Becel before but a little research tells me that it is what is called “Flora” in Ireland & the UK. This recipe calls for softened butter made from cow’s milk. The product you used is margarine unfortunately which is why I think it doesn’t work. A number of my recipes are adaptable to margarine but unfortunately this isn’t one of them.

      • val93

        Well, I tried the recipe again with butter and the same thing has happened – butter floating all around it. I measured everything very carefully. Do you think it would work if I used only 100g butter? The flour I’m using is Bob’s Red Mill semolina four from Oregon. Perhaps it doesn’t absorb as much as yours in Ireland? I really would like this recipe to work, so apprecdiate any advice you can give.

        • Wholesome Ireland

          Hi Val I’m sorry to hear that. I know that Frosty (see comments below) has also tried this recipe and it worked well for him. However I also know that he is also based in Ireland so perhaps it could be a difference in the type of products you’re using as you say. If the butter is floating then I would suggest that as you have thought yourself, that the semolina flour is a finer milled version than what I would use and so isn’t as absorbant. You could try reducing the butter quantity to 100 and increasing the flour by 25g. Hopefully this should balance the equation.
          Now I do use a fan assisted oven so that could also be an issue for you if you’re using a regular oven or a gas fired oven? If so increase the temperature by 10-15 degrees Celcius. This will also help with the baking process.
          The only other thing that I can think of is that you’re in a high-altitude area and the baking conditions are different?
          Sorry for the long response but I’m puzzled as to why it’s not working for you so I’d like to get it sorted and update the blogpost with region-specific tips if I can. Thank you so much for your feedback.

          • Val93

            Your comments are much appreciated. I too use a fan assisted oven and am not at a very high elevation. The first cake with the “Flora” had a grainy texture. This second attempt looks more like a pudding than a cake as I added more liquid – will eat it with custard as it’s got really good flavour. Will try your suggestion for less butter and more flour and hopefully it will be 3rd time lucky. I’ll be in Ireland in 2 weeks time and will buy some semolina flour there.
            Thanks again!

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