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Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for Assam tea malt oaf | The new vegan

Usually in a recipe, I like to contrast ingredients and watch them battle it out. But sometimes, when you want to go large on one flavour, it’s worth adding a few ingredients with similar profiles to cover all bases. Today’s loaf is a case in point: I wanted layers of malt on malt on malt – flavours of toast, coffee, toffee and rye bread – which comes from using malt extract and muscovado sugar together with my favourite tea, the robust, full-bodied Assam tea, AKA the thinking woman’s English breakfast.

Prep 10 min

Cook 50-60 min

Serves 8-10

Sticky Assam malt loaf

You’ll need to find malt extract for this recipe. You might be able to buy this from larger supermarkets, healthfood shops such as Holland & Barrett, or online.

Rapeseed oil, for greasing

2 tbsp milled chia seeds

150ml strong brewed Assam tea
, hot

1 tbsp lemon juice

200ml malt extract
, plus extra for brushing

100g light brown muscovado

250g dried fruit (a mix of cherries, prunes and raisins), chopped into raisin-sized pieces

250g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp sea salt

Heat the oven to 180C (160c fan)/350F/gas 4, and grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Put the milled chia seeds in a small bowl with five tablespoons of water and leave to one side to bloom. Meanwhile, put the hot tea, lemon juice, malt extract, sugar and fruit in a heatproof bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then add the bloomed seeds, flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Mix well, then spoon into the prepared tin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes (the timing will depend on the shape of your loaf tin), or until a skewer comes out clean. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, brush the top with more malt extract and leave to cool. Eat warm with your favourite spread or wrap in baking paper and keep in an airtight tin, where it will get stickier and keep for up to a week.

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