Sunday, 9 September 2012

Orange and Honey Tea Bread

For someone who has always struggled with her metabolism, it's been a gradual change, over the past few years, to start eating healthy. It started disastrously with me trying out a few non-sensical diets only to realise that the sensible way was to make small, meaningful changes to my eating habits.

You've heard it before..making breakfast the most important meal, smaller meals at regular intervals, more whole grains, less refined sugar and the one I've really taken to, eating seasonal produce but more importantly, local produce!!

While baking is the occasional indulgence that I really enjoy, it is also at odds with most of the above. So, in my own little way, I try to make it healthier....baking more with fruit, finding a substitute for refined, white sugar and ultimately, I hope to embrace gluten-free baking!!
So, when I came across a jar of honey from one of India's trusted organic brands, I knew I wanted to bake with it. This tea bread recipe was perfect. It uses only honey, no refined sugar, two tablespoons of butter and a seasonal fruit, oranges!!

As most of the recipes I blog about, this is an easy one. What I really liked about this recipe was that it not only uses orange zest but also a generous helping of orange juice. And that's why your kitchen and home will be filled with the gentle, beautiful waft of oranges as this loaf bakes and more so, when you take it out of the oven! 

If my earlier lime cake was all about limes, this one is all about oranges. The flavour of the orange lends a certain citrusy freshness to this variation of the basic pound cake. The honey brings a certain denseness of flavour when compared to that of refined, white sugar.

The oranges and honey also keep the cake from being overly sweet, something that my palate appreciates. The recipe does call for walnuts which despite having them at home, I just forgot to use. When I think of it, I recommend the walnuts. It will enhance the loaf, both texturally and visually.

This is a no-frills, fuss-free loaf that can be made on a lazy weekend morning .. it hardly takes any time!! And then watch as you reach for it, slice by slice .... when you have your morning cuppa ... when you have your evening cuppa ... when you come home after running through your list of errands for the weekend ... when you wake up from your afternoon siesta that happens only on the weekends ... when in the middle of a movie that you are watching for the umpteenth time on TV ... when the gossip during your telephone chat gets unbelievably juicy ... when you close your eyes on Sunday evening and think about Monday morning... until you finally reach out... and there is none left!!!
Orange and Honey Tea Bread

Recipe from the book, "Complete Baking" by Martha Day

makes one loaf (9 x 5 - inch loaf tin)

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp soda bi-carb
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tbsp orange zest
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
** The recipe can be easily halved. In such a case use a smaller loaf tin, (I used a 8 x 3-inch loaf tin) and for the egg, beat an egg but use only half of the beaten egg.

Cooking Directions:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 170 deg C. Grease and line your baking tin.
  • In one large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, soda bi-carb and salt.
  • In another bowl, cream the butter until soft.
  • Stir in the honey, until blended, then stir in the egg.
  • Add the orange zest and stir to combine thoroughly.
  • Fold the flour mixture into the egg-honey mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the orange juice. Stir in the walnuts.
  • Pour into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes, before removing from the tin and allowing it to cool on a wire rack.


  1. I love the aroma that wafts through my kitchen when I bake with oranges (esp the zest), I recently made choco-orange biscuits for a friend, my kitchen still has a hint of that sinful smell!
    The tea loaf looks so moist and soft, substituting honey with sugar is such a healthy option :))
    Nice recipe, and perfect as a dessert or evening tea:)

    1. Oh .. its the best aroma.. and in this case.. once I took it out of the oven.. it just engulfed my kitchen!! the main reason i gave this recipe a go was because it used honey instead of sugar!!! do try it if you can!! I think you'll enjoy it too!! :)

  2. Oh gosh!!! What a lovely bread. I love baking with citrus fruits. So this one will surely go to my to do list. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe :)

    1. Oh then you must try it nandita!! this loaf was all about orange love!!! :)

  3. Replies
    1. I know.. there is something so rustic and homey about this loaf!!

  4. I do like baking with honey for it adds a lot to the finished product. The color of your tea bread is just gorgeous!

    1. This was the first time for me using honey as a complete substitute for sugar.. and I loved it!! Am on the lookout for more such recipes... easier on the guilt conscience!! :)

  5. Your bread looks and sounds delicious and I'm always on the look out for healthy lighter baking recipes;-)

    1. Thanks Patty!! :) Arent we all always on the lookout for healthier baking recipes!!! ;)

  6. looks tempting & delicious...mouthwatering!

  7. I got a jar of a very tasty honey from my father in low and I like simple recipes :)

    1. Oh then you must must give this recipe a try!!! U'll enjoy it!! :)

  8. great blog.... you've got me hooked... your eggless chocolate cake and the orange and honey tea bread a must try for me.... great going .....

    1. Thank you soo much!! :) Please do try both the cakes.. they are so easy.. and both turn out really well..Do let me know how they turned out!! Thank you for dropping by!! :)


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