Autumn Tea Bread

This tea loaf is full to bursting with warming autumnal flavours such as mixed spice and dried mixed fruit – plus the hidden addition of butternut squash, which works in the same way as grated carrot does in a carrot cake, giving a moist, naturally sweet flavour and texture, not to mention plenty of fibre and the antioxidant vitamin beta-carotene.


Makes 1 loaf/10 slices

225g (8oz) self-raising wholemeal flour

11/2–2 tbsp ground mixed spice

300g (101/2oz) butternut squash, peeled and coarsely grated

150ml (5fl oz) mild or medium (not extra virgin) olive oil

50g (2oz) xylitol (or soft brown sugar)

1 tbsp agave syrup (or honey or golden syrup)

50g (2oz) dried mixed fruit

2 large free-range or organic eggs, lightly beaten

100g (4oz) pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

For the icing

3 tbsp tahini

11/2 tbsp agave syrup (or honey or golden syrup)

3/4–1 tsp ground mixed spice


1 Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Line a 22 x 12 x 6.5cm (2lb) loaf tin with baking paper.

2 Sift the flour and mixed spice into a mixing bowl (tip any leftover grains from the flour back into the mixture). Add the grated squash, oil, xylitol, syrup, dried mixed fruit, eggs and nuts. Stir well until it’s all mixed together, then scrape into the prepared tin.

3 Bake in the centre of the oven for 11/4 hours or until the top feels fairly hard and the mixture doesn’t wobble when the tin is shaken. Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.

4 Mix the icing ingredients together until smooth and creamy – add a tablespoon or so of water if necessary – and then spread on top of the loaf. Store in an airtight container.

Cook’s Notes

Dairy-free, yeast-free • V • Can be made in advance • Suitable for freezing

From Delicious, Health Sugar Free by Patrick Holford and Fiona McDonald Joyce. With special thanks to Fiona McDonald Joyce for use of these recipes for Holford Health Club members.

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