Malt Loaf

Every now & then we get reminded of treats from another time, the sorts of thing’s that have fallen out of fashion, forgotten about or merely replaced by new & seemingly more exciting thing’s. I never quite understood how this happens, I mean, how can anyone merely fall out of love with something as perfect as a pineapple upside down cake or black forest gateau?

Sadly, bakes of times gone by are increasingly more difficult to find in bakeries, replaced instead with the likes of red velvet cakes, macarons & cupcakes. All are equally delicious & deserving, so why can’t we make room for them all?

One such satisfying, yet undoubtedly unfashionable bake is malt loaf. A squidgy, chewy little cake that tastes somewhere between fruitcake & Horlicks (malty goodness!). I find it difficult to believe that anyone can resist it’s nostalgic, chewy charm & yet I’m willing to bet there are quite a few of you that have never tasted it.

Straightforward to make with few ingredients & steps, there’s something so charming about it’s simplicity. An uncomplicated cake in complicated times, malt loaf is something of a safe place. A homely treat to be enjoyed with a large cup of tea & company.

Similarly to a fruit cake, malt loaf only gets better with age, wrap it in some parchment or film, pop it in a tin & forget about it for a couple of days, it will be all the better for it. Very satisfying for elevenses, a snack or it’s a addition to picnics. There are many of ways to enjoy your malt loaf… toasted, topped with cheese, or (the best way) loaded with some salted butter. So, in a world that seems a little crazy at the moment, why not try a recipe that takes us back to simpler, cordial times.

(makes two 1lb loaves)


  • 180g sultanas
  • 120g pitted dates, chopped
  • 150ml black tea (freshly brewed)
  • 150g malt extract, plus a little extra for brushing
  • 25g black treacle
  • 85g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt


  • Grease & line two a 1lb loaf tins with baking parchment
  • In a large bowl add in the sultanas & dates before pouring over the hot tea & giving a stir
  • Next, add the malt extract, treacle & sugar to the bowl & stir again until everything is nicely melted together
  • Add the eggs to the bowl & beat into the mixture
  • Place a sieve over the top of the bowl & sift over the flours, raising agents & salt
  • Mix everything together in the bowl until well combined
  • Equally divide the mixture up between the two prepared loaf tins
  • Bake at 160C for 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean
  • Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven & brush their tops with a little malt extract straight from the jar
  • Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes before removing & allowing to cool fully on a cooling rack

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