Chocolate Fruit Cake

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The Straits Times

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013

  • Who: Ms Elaine Low, 41, finance director of a property management company

    Every year, Ms Low makes more than 100 fruit cakes and other Yuletide offerings such as stollens and panettone to give away at Christmas.

    Just for her chocolate fruit cake alone, she uses 20kg of dried fruit, including raisins, prunes and dates.

    She usually puts the dried fruit into two large tubs that can take up to 10kg each.

    The fruit then macerates in Guinness Stout for about a week, before she starts baking her signature Christmas cake, which she has been making for about a decade.

    Once the cakes are made, she brushes each one with brandy to preserve them, as well as to intensify the alcoholic flavour.

    The mother of two children, aged 11 and 13 , whose husband Heng Meng Hee, 42, works in the IT security industry, says: "For me, it is more meaningful to make my own gifts and I enjoy it."

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  • (To be prepared a week or at least a day in advance)
  • 750g mixed fruit (available at supermarkets and baking supply shops such as Phoon Huat)
  • 200g chopped prunes
  • 200g chopped dates
  • 330ml Guinness Stout (one can)
  • Cake
  • 250g butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 250g dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • 2 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • Brandy for brushing
  • Chopped nuts and preserved cherries for decoration
  • 1. Place all dried fruit in a container with a lid. Pour in the can of stout. Mix and leave it covered at room temperature to soak for about a week, or at least one day. Stir it occasionally.
  • 2. After the fruit has been soaked in the stout for a sufficient amount of time and when you are ready to bake the cake, preheat the oven to 160 deg C.
  • 3. Line a 23cm round cake tin or use waxed loaf cake boxes (left) that are available from baking stores.
  • 4. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter on low speed until it is pale and fluffy. Creaming it on high will cause the butter to melt.
  • 5. Add vanilla extract to the butter and continue mixing.
  • 6. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure the mixture is well combined before adding the next egg.
  • 7. Add the fruit and any remaining liquid into the mixture. Continue to mix on low speed.
  • 8. Add the marmalade, orange juice and chocolate chips and continue to mix on low speed.
  • 9. Fold in sifted flour and ground cinnamon and mix until well combined.
  • 10. Pour mixture into the cake tin and bake for 2½ to 3 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If using mini loaf cake boxes (7 by 3cm), bake for about 45 minutes. You can also use muffin cups. Timings may vary depending on size of tin but use a skewer to tell if the cake is done.
  • 11. Remove from oven and leave to cook on wire racks. When cooled, keep the cake in an air-tight container and brush with brandy every other day until you are ready to give it away. Decorate with nuts and preserved cherries, then wrap with clingwrap or place into a cellophane bag.
  • Makes about 25 mini loaf boxes, or one 23cm round cake