About MissCakeBaker

I spend the week running in heels and the weekends in my apron.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Ale Fruit Loaf

I was given Home Baked by Eric Lanlard a few months ago and have finally got round to making one of his cakes. I've done the recipe for his Ale Fruit loaf but in the spirit of the season I used Harvey's Christmas Ale instead of a regular one.  The recipe also lists wholemeal self-raising flour as an ingredient.  As I didn't have any in the cupboard I used wholemeal spelt flour and added a teaspoon of baking powder to the mixture.  I do love fruit cake and Wensleydale cheese - I think that is my Yorkshire roots coming out - and this cake is perfect for that combination.  Did you know by the way that Wensleydale cheese production almost had to finish in the 1990s due to such low sales.  It was however featured in the Wallace & Gromit animations and sales shot up saving this lovely cheese which was originally created by French Cistercian monks who settled in Wensleydale in the 14th century.  In his book Eric also suggests serving it toasted and buttered with raspberry jam which would be delicious too. Either way this is a great cake for eating in front of the TV on those days between Christmas and NY just as it's getting dark outside and it's all cosy inside (or while typing up a blog post....).

This cake is also my entry into December's Tea Time Treats, a monthly baking challenge hosted alternatively by What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage.  The theme this month is, of course, Christmas and is being hosted by the fab Kate.

The Recipe (my version)

390g mixed dried fruit (out of interest can someone tell me why Sainsbury's normal mixed dried fruit is £1.54 for 300g and their luxury dried fruit £1.53 for the same amount?!)
1 x bottle (250ml) ale
100g soft brown sugar
85g self raising flour
100g wholemeal spelt flour
1 tspn baking powder
3 tsp's ground mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten

1. This is the easiest cake ever to make.  Firstly, the day before you want to make the cake, place the dried fruit in a saucepan with the beer and heat gently.  Place in a bowl, cover and leave overnight to soak.
2. The next day preheat the oven to 40c/gas mark 1.  Grease and line a loaf tin.
3.  Put the soaked dried fruit and all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Place in the loaf tin and cook.  The original recipe says to cook for 1 1/4 hours but mine took more like 1 1/2 hours.  Cool in the tin before turning out.  

According to Eric, you should wrap the loaf in cling film and it will keep in a cool, dry place for up to 6 weeks.


  1. That is a lovely looking loaf and the flavours sound pretty wonderful too. Really must get around to baking something from this book myself!

  2. I've been a fan of fruitcake and cheese since my first visit to Yorkshire many, many years ago but I haven't eaten it for ages. This sounds like an excellent recipe for it. I wonder if it would work with chocolate ale....

  3. Looks great - I've never tried fruity cakes with cheese but think I like the concept!

  4. Thank you so much for your entry (and, erm, calling me fab!! I do love a compliment...)! Ohh, what a lovely recipe- yep, I can just imagine curling up on the sofa watching an old film with a toasted slice of this delicious cake and a warming cuppa.... And I didn't know that about the cheese- what a brilliant fact!

  5. This looks great especially with that slab of cheese! Perfect for the festive season.

  6. Thanks for the comments. I'm a big fruit cake and cheese fan so definitely recommend it. @phil I think chocolate ale could work really well.

  7. I love the cakes with dried fruits...they make Christmas time!!
    This one with ale too sound so good!

  8. Oh! Nothing says Christmas like a beautiful fruit cake loaf ... this looks a bit lighter than the heavy boozey ones I've seen (and been given) over the years!

    I have a friend who is looking for a fruitcake recipe ... I believe I'll be posting her your link!

    Merry Christmas, dearie!

  9. ooh lovely idea about the cheese and fruit cake...mmm...sounds yummy..

    and that was interesting about the Wensleydale cheese...I love Wallice & Gromit...I'm a Northerner too...born in Lancashire...fruit would be lovely with crumbly Lancashire cheese...

  10. Am pleased to say that since the cake has been wrapped in cling film for a day it tastes even nicer!

  11. This looks lovely - fruity and moist. I think I'm going to have to try this and get myself some Wensleydale whilst I'm at it!

  12. Oh I Have this cookbook and just love it! His recipes are fabulous. But I Have been hesistant to try this one out because I"m really not a fan of sweet fruit loaves..and I find most recipes are really sweet. What do you think?

    It looks lovely!

  13. Hi Brittany - I didn't find it too sweet at all - I would definitely give it a go.

  14. This looks delicious! I love moist fruit cake!

  15. Thanks for such a inspirational and delicious entry for Tea Time Treats....I am a BIG fan of ale and fruit cakes and totally approve of the cheese with it too!

  16. Gosh it's a very long time since I had cheese with fruit cake - not since I lived in Leeds then Ilkley in the 70's. As a Derbyshire lass I thought the custom was rather weird but I soon took to it !!
    This cake looks easy and delicious, definitely one for me to try.

  17. This looks great! Especially served with cheese! yum!