Farmer's Wife Loaf

. March, 2016
Photography by Claire Aldous.
Farmer's Wife Loaf

This loaf was one of the first recipes I learned to bake and it belonged to my grandmother. Being a farmer’s wife, she always had tins filled with delicious cakes and biscuits for morning tea. It was always a favourite and I’ve tweaked the recipe to make it gluten-free. 


150 grams butter at room temperature
175 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
3 large eggs, size 7
100 grams ground almonds
85 grams rice flour (brown or white)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
8 dried apricots, thinly sliced
¼ cup well drained, tinned crushed pineapple
⅓ cup mashed very ripe banana
finely grated zest and juice 1 orange
¾ cup icing sugar, sifted
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 dried apricots, thinly sliced


Grease a 4 cup capacity loaf tin and line fully with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well mixed.

Combine the almonds, rice flour, salt, baking powder and the mixed spice. Add the dry ingredients along with all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and fold together using a large metal spoon. Tip into the tin and smooth the top.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cover the top loosely with foil if it’s getting too brown. Cool completely in the tin before removing. 

Icing: Combine the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a smooth, thick but pourable icing. Drizzle over the cake then sprinkle over the lemon zest and sliced apricots while the icing is still wet.

The loaf will keep in an airtight container for 4 days. Makes 1 loaf

If you don’t wish to make a gluten free loaf, use 175 grams plain flour to replace the almonds and rice flour.