At least 6 hours before you want to make the tea loaf, place the teabags into a large measuring jug and pour over 350ml of boiling water. Allow to brew for 5 minutes, then add the raisins, cranberries and chopped apricots (leave the teabags in). Cover and leave to soak for 6 hours (or overnight) for the tea to be absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment or a tin liner. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until a thick batter forms.
Remove the teabags from the steeped fruit and squeeze any excess liquid into the jug. Add the dried fruits and any remaining liquid into the batter and stir until well combined. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. If the top of the cake starts to look too brown before cooking is over, cover with a sheet of foil for the remainder of the cooking time.
Allow the cake to cool slightly for 5 minutes, then use a pastry brush to coat the warm top with honey. Leave the tea bread to cool completely before slicing and serving with or without butter. This cake will keep for 2-3 weeks stored in an airtight container.
Martha’s tip: A lot of people enjoy cheese with their tea bread. Creamy Wensleydale is a good pairing, or go for a Stilton if you like something stronger.
Recipe and image courtesy of Waitrose & Partners and Martha Collison, Martha’s most recent book is CRAVE, published by HarperCollins. You can find her online at BakingMartha.co.uk and on Instagram @marthacollison.