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Chocolate Ale Fruit Cake – We’re All Baking Mad

Loaf Cakes | 6th March 2012 | By

If you like a good fruit loaf, you’re in for a treat with this chocolate ale fruit cake. It’s virtually fat-free and is tangy and moist with a nice chewy texture. Serve it with a wedge of cheese for a lunchtime special. It’s also delicious toasted with butter.

Baking Mad

In case anyone hasn’t heard, there is a new series of Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard coming to Channel 4. It started yesterday on 5 March at 12:05 and will run every day for 4 weeks. Each 30 minute episode will feature three members of the public. They’ll attend his cookery school, Cake Boy, to demonstrate their baking skills and take part in a “Bake Off”. Our very own Dom of Belleau Kitchen will be featuring on 15 March.

Chocolate Ale Fruit Cake

So that I can share in the fun, I’m baking one of Eric’s recipes developed especially for the series. Amazingly I still had some chocolate ale left over from the triple chocolate ale brownies I made a year ago and even more amazingly it was still potable. Taking this as a good omen I decided to have a go at making this chocolate ale fruit cake. Baking Mad provided the flour, sugar and my chosen recipe. Although, I did, of course, tinker with the latter somewhat.

Chocolate Ale Fruit Cake - shaped as a brick.

The fruit loaf is really easy to make. But it does take a bit of time. Not hands on time, but fruit soaking time. The longer you can leave the dried fruit to soak in the chocolate ale, so much the better. Overnight to 24 hours is a good bet.
Unusually for a cake, this fruit loaf is virtually fat-free. The only fat going in to the mix is from the duck eggs, there is no butter or oil. This does mean it’s a good excuse to slather it with butter after it’s baked. It’s particularly good toasted and also goes nicely with a slab of cheese.
I baked the chocolate ale fruit loaf in a brick shaped mould. It could be this along with its robust tasting nature, that made me think of if it as perfect for sustaining the workers. It certainly sustained us. We’d been working particularly hard down on the plot. CT reckoned, “it was probably good with a nice mug of builder’s tea (or chocolate ale even) for elevenses after a long session digging over the beds. Especially if brought out wrapped in waxed paper from a pair of overalls”.

Duck Eggs

Hooray, duck eggs are back in season! As regular readers will have gathered, I do love baking with duck eggs. Head over to this duck egg post to find the reason why. You don’t have to use duck eggs for this recipe of course, large hens eggs will be fine. But it is worth seeking some out if you are able.

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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this chocolate ale fruit cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

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Chocolate Ale Fruit Loaf. PIN IT.

Chocolate Ale Fruit Loaf

Chocolate Ale Fruit Cake – The Recipe

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5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Ale Fruit Loaf

This virtually fat-free loaf cake is tangy and moist with a nice chewy texture. It's particularly good served with a wedge of cheese or toasted with butter.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Soaking time1 d
Total Time1 d 1 hr 50 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Snack
Cuisine: British
Keyword: beer, cake, chocolate ale, fruit cake, fruit loaf
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 213kcal


  • 390 g dried mixed fruit of your choice (I used mostly raisins, but some pineapple & some papaya).
  • 250 ml chocolate ale or beer of your choice
  • 100 g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
  • 85 g self-raising flour
  • 100 g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 3 tsp mixed spice (my mix was allspice, cinnamon, mace, cloves & cayenne)


  • The day before baking, place the dried fruit in a bowl with the chocolate ale. Give it a good stir, cover with a plate and leave in a warm place to soak.
  • The next day, stir in the sugar, then beat in the eggs.
  • Sift in the flours and spices, then fold in to the fruit mix.
  • Pour the batter into a buttered 21.5 x 11 cm silicone loaf mould, or lined tin. Bake at 140℃ (275℉, Gas 1) for 1.5 hrs or until risen, golden in colour and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Serve sliced with butter or a good wedge of cheese.


If you don't have a warm place to leave the fruit overnight, heat the ale first before adding to the bowl. Just ensure you don't bring it to the boil.
You can use a slightly larger loaf tin, but you'll need to reduce the cooking time a little.
Will last for a week in an air tight container. Best toasted when its a few days old.


Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.1g | Protein: 3.9g | Fat: 2.9g | Saturated Fat: 1.4g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 23.4g | Iron: 1.6mg


I was sent some of the ingredients to make this chocolate ale fruit cake. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions are, all always, my own. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging. 
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  1. Charlotte Pike

    6th March 2012 at 8:05 am

    This looks great – what a fine specimen your loaf is. I must try and track down some chocolate ale now…

    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you Charlotte and good luck. It’s not the easiest thing to get hold of, but then you are in London 🙂

  2. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    6th March 2012 at 8:29 am

    just think of the tasty house you could build with bricks like that!

    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:36 pm

      Trouble is, it wouldn’t last very long Dom – either that or it would get mouldy!

  3. Lucy, Vanilla Frost

    6th March 2012 at 11:36 am

    Chocolate ale? Sounds interesting! I’m off to set up Sky Plus for 12.05. When is Dom on? The cake looks great.

    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks, Dom is on show on 15th March – so he tells me! I’ve updated the post now to reflect this.

  4. laura@howtocookgoodfood

    6th March 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I do love a good fruit loaf but this is on another level. Chocolate Ale I am now desperate to try not only in the recipe but to drink too…..sounds intriguing and surely would be the perfect tipple to accompany such a fruit laden loaf! Love all the spices you have used too xx

    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:40 pm

      I’m not a great beer drinker Laura, but I did manage a whole glass of this one. It was actually rather nice and is great in baking. Robust spices for a robust cake 😉

  5. Chele

    6th March 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Ohhhhh – now I’ve seen your post I’m kinda wishing I had picked that from the list of recipes lol. Its looking ultra tasty I must say. Lets hope my ice cream turns out just as well as your loaf has for Baking Mad!

    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:47 pm

      Swap some of your ice-cream for a slice or two of this? You make great ice-cream – it will be delicious Chele.

  6. A Trifle Rushed

    6th March 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Mmmm! Chocolate ale, fruit and cake, I think I could live on this. I haven’t seen Baking Mad, I’ll see if I can find it on whatever Channel 4’s catch up is!

    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Think it’s 4OD Jude. Unfortunately our broadband isn’t up to playing that very well, so am hoping it will be alright on the night!

  7. Green Dragonette

    6th March 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I’ve never seen this programme but if Dom is on it we mustn’t miss it!!

    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Ha ha, indeed not. He’s on the 15th March apparently.

  8. Kit @ i-lostinausten

    6th March 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Wow! Another fantastic recipe with an appetizing & original brick look! Sounds really amazing !

    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks, you made me laugh. Have never really thought of a brick looking appetising before!

    • Kit @ i-lostinausten

      6th March 2012 at 11:08 pm

      This comment has been removed by the author.

    • Kit @ i-lostinausten

      6th March 2012 at 11:27 pm

      Oh gosh! Just pressed the wrong button & my last comment is gone! These bricky looking Chocolate ale cake looks tasty to me especially when there’s ale in it!

  9. Lauralovescakes

    6th March 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I didn’t even realise there was such a thing as chocolate ale! Who needs a tea loaf when you can have an alcohol loaf! 🙂

  10. Choclette

    6th March 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Laura, you’ve got it in one 😉

  11. avillagepantry

    6th March 2012 at 8:56 pm

    You had me at pineapple, then papaya. I gave up at chocolate ale. Where can I buy this? 😉

    • Choclette

      6th March 2012 at 9:11 pm

      We could do a swap – a slice of green tea loaf for a slice of this!

  12. thelittleloaf

    7th March 2012 at 9:28 am

    Looks like a lovely loaf! I’m not a big fan of ale to drink but it does work well in cooking (I use it to soak fruit for hot cross buns). Love the idea of chocolate ale – definitely one to try!

    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 8:31 pm

      Alcohol generally works better for me in cooking, but I did have a glass of this ale and it was very nice. Your hot cross buns sound delicious – any particular type of beer?

  13. Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane

    7th March 2012 at 9:36 am

    Wow – congrats to Dom! Also, I never know of chocolate ale before, that sounds delicious!

    • Choclette

      7th March 2012 at 8:36 pm

      Xinmei, I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I did enjoy a glass of this one 🙂

  14. Javelin Warrior

    7th March 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing this and letting us know about Dom – I actually have a the Cake Boy cookbook by Eric Lanlard so I’m keep to hear more about this… 🙂

    • Choclette

      8th March 2012 at 9:08 pm

      I don’t have that one, but am hoping I might be getting it as a thank you for doing this post!

  15. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours

    7th March 2012 at 11:06 pm

    I think that I possibly have a bottle of the same chocolate ale, from the same brownies from last year. Although I might have made a casserole with it. Possibly.

    The underside of your loaf does look remarkably brick like, all down to the loaf tin of course.

    • Choclette

      8th March 2012 at 9:09 pm

      Take it you’re not an ale drinker either then Helen. I am so ridiculously unobservant, I didn’t notice it looked like a brick until it was pointed out – doh!

  16. C

    8th March 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Sounds great! I keep meaning to try baking with booze – perhaps not chocolate ale, but stout or similar. I’m put off by having leftovers though – I’m not a big drinker!

    • Choclette

      8th March 2012 at 9:11 pm

      It should keep C if you don’t use it all in one bake. Weirdly, I was just thinking it was time I paid you a visit when your comment popped up!

  17. cakeboule

    8th March 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Well this is a great cake! Certainly a solid will travel well and be enjoyed experience.

    • Choclette

      9th March 2012 at 9:22 am

      Yes, it’s currently going in CTs lunch boxes to sustain him through his 15 hour days!

  18. Jacqueline

    8th March 2012 at 10:31 pm

    That looks really wonderful Choclette and I like the thought of chocolate ale in it. I just posted a recipe from the series too. I picked the same one as Janice, funnily enough. I am looking forward to Dom’s debut next week too!

    • Choclette

      9th March 2012 at 9:24 am

      Thanks Jac. It’s funny how we seem to be going for the same recipes. Karen’s doing this one too!

  19. Johanna GGG

    10th March 2012 at 12:13 pm

    that last photo looks like a brick which makes it seem dense and crunchy on the outside (not that I have ever eaten a brick) but the first one looks moist and full of good stuff – could you taste the chocolate?

  20. celia

    11th March 2012 at 3:54 am

    How nice that you’re back to duck eggs! And the cake looks great – I’m a bit hooked on Muscovado sugar at the moment.. 🙂


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