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St Patrick's Day Fruit and Spice Bread

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“Adapted from a recipe by Sarah Cook in GoodFood magazine. Best eaten warm, freshly baked. It's best by far not to substitute any ingredient.”
1hr 5mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 ounces oats (rolled breakfast oats)
  • 7 ounces flour, all-purpose
  • 7 ounces wholewheat flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 2 ounces butter, firm, cut into small dice
  • 4 ounces superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces raisins, golden, seedless (sultanas)
  • 2 ounces dates, finely chopped (fresh is lovely if available)
  • 3 tablespoons mixed peel (dried mixed peel, used for Christmas baking)
  • 16 fluid oz buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 -4 tablespoons sugar, dark brown (demerara, or use any brown sugar)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
  2. In a food processor, whizz the oats and butter together. (Can also be done with fingertips, saving you cleaning the processor!).
  3. Tip into a big bowl, and stir in the 2 flours, superfine sugar, baking soda, mixed spice, salt, raisins, dates and mixed peel.
  4. Pour over the buttermilk and vanilla, and stir in briskly with a wooden spoon.
  5. Tip on to a flour-dusted surface and gently form into a flattish ball. Transfer to a baking tin (cover it with baking paper first).
  6. Sprinkle over the dark brown sugar (any brown sugar will do) and press the sugar in, all over the top. To be traditional, cut a cross in the top of the bread.
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes, until crusty on the outside. Do test with a skewer, as ovens can vary a lot. Allow more baking time if necessary.
  8. Nicest if eaten warm, in thick slices, slathered with real butter!

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