Regional Recipes: Felton Spice Loaf

February 21, 2018
Felton spice loaf on a plate

Felton spice loaf is a traditional recipe from the North East of England.  This spiced fruit cake is a delicious tea time treat.

There is nothing nicer than a cup of tea with a slice of cake around four in the afternoon. It is a time when energy levels start to sag. A snack and a cup of tea act as a pick me up helping to keep you going until dinner time. The English tradition of afternoon tea is something that we should all celebrate.

Felton spice loaf is a traditional Northumberland high-tea loaf. It is a lightly spiced fruit cake bursting with the citrus flavour of candied peel and the moist richness of raisins. The cake is easy to make. Most fruit cakes take a few hours in the oven, this one is ready in forty minutes. The hard part is waiting for it to cool so you can eat it.

Read more: Traditional Recipes from North East England

Felton spice loaf

Felton Splice loaf

Felton spice loaf is a traditional recipe from the village of Felton in Northumberland. The recipe was first put into print in Peggy Hutchinson’s North Country Cooking Secrets in 1935. Like many traditional recipes it has probably been around much longer. It is the type of recipe you will find written on a envelope and hidden in your grannies cookery book.

Felton spice loaf is a bread cake which contains egg, ground almonds, sultanas and shredded peel. Self raising flour is the raising agent. It can be eaten on its own or with a smear of butter.

Felton spice loaf

Where is Felton?

I have been to many places in Northumberland but never to Felton. Having read a little bit about it I may have to rectify this and visit soon. Felton is in central Northumberland, close to the coast and not far north of Morpeth. It is easy to reach from the A1 as you head towards Alwick and Bambrough.

The village is small, less than 1000 people live there but by all accounts it is charming. The river Coquet runs though the village surrounded by stone cottages. There are two bridges in the village, the older one dates from the 15th Century. On the main street you will find a plaque commemorating the stay of Oliver Cromwell whilst on his way to Battle of Dunbar. The church of St Michael and All Angels is a Grade I listed building from Medieval times.

Whilst the village is small there is plenty to do and see. North East Family Fun has put together a great guide on things to do in Felton if you visit with kids.

If you want something to eat then you can visit the Running Fox Bakery. This offers afternoon tea which is said to be the “best afternoon tea in England”. I am going to have to add them to my afternoon tea in the north east bucket list and pay a visit to find out if this is true.  For a more substantial meal you can visit the  Northumberland Arms, a pub and restaurant. Highlighing the North East went for Sunday lunch there and it looks lovely.

How to make Felton Spice Loaf

This fruit cake is really easy to make. Start by creaming together the sugar and butter and then gently whisk in the eggs.  Fold some ground almonds into the mix and then sift in the flour and mixed spice. Finally add some mixed peel and sultanas. The cake mixture at this point will be a little stiff so add some milk until it takes on a dropping consistency.

Grease a loaf tin or line it with baking parchment and spoon the cake mixture into it. Flatten down the mixture then bake in the oven for around thirty to forty minutes. You know it is ready when a skewer placed into the cake comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin for around ten minutes before you turn it out of the tin. At this point you can place it onto a wire rack until it is cool. Serve with some tea and enjoy.

Read more: Boiled fruit cake recipe

Felton spice loaf

Felton spice loaf recipe

Felton spice loaf on a plate

Felton Spice Loaf

Alison Maclean
A traditional spiced loaf from Northumberland
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 6 people


  • 110 g butter
  • 110 g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 110 g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 50 g chopped candied peel
  • 175 g sultanas
  • Enough milk to give the mixture a dropping consistency


  • Preheat the oven to 190 °C / 375 °F / Gas 5.
  • Grease a loaf tin.
  • Cream the sugar and butter together in a bowl until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and beat.
  • Fold in the ground almonds.
  • Sift the flour with the mixed spice and fold in.
  • Add the candied peel and the sultanas and stir through.
  • Add enough milk to give the mixture a soft dropping consistency.
  • Place the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
  • You know it is ready when a skewer placed into the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool in the tin for five to ten minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
Keyword cake

Why not pin the recipe for later?

Felton spice loaf. A traditional Northumberland recipe for a spice cake which is perfect for afternoon tea. Click for the recipe

Have you ever had Felton spice loaf? Do you know any other traditional recipes from North East England? Let me know below.

12 responses to “Regional Recipes: Felton Spice Loaf”

  1. 5 stars
    Hmmm it looks lovely and moist with perfect crispy edges, I could just do with a slice right now ! 🙂

  2. Anca says:

    Such a lovely story. I would like to try this recipe. In fact, I’ve put it in my to-bake list. I’m going to let you know when I’m making it.

  3. Galina V says:

    5 stars
    What a delightful fruit cake! I have never heard of Felton spice loaf, but I guess it’s a Northern speciality. I am very tempted to bake it. Looks wonderful.

  4. @goriami says:

    That looks delicious, I love spicey fruity cakes! I just need to buy some ground almonds to try the recipe out!

  5. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious. I shall have to give it a try. I will ask my mum if she has heard of it. although I expect it would have featured in my childhood if she had

  6. 5 stars
    I had never heard of this, I love how england has so many regional cakes! this looks perfect for today’s weather 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: