Easy stout fruit cake with cherries

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my grandmothers neverfail boiled fruit cake with stout

I have adapted my maternal grandmother’s never-fail, easy-boiled fruit cake recipe and added Castle Chocolate Milk Stout which gives it a lovely depth of flavour. The slight bitterness offsets this sweet cake beautifully. I also can’t believe how easy it is to make and it is now my go-to recipe for fruit cake and will be what I make this Christmas.

easy stout fruit cake

My grandmother’s recipe lists 3 cups of any fruit you like, so you could go with a fruit cake mix, raisins and currents, cranberries, and raisins, but I do suggest at least 3/4 of a cup to a cup of whole red cherries as this makes it luxurious. There is nothing better for me than seeing whole cherries in my fruit cake.

my grandmothers neverfail boiled fruit cake

my grandmothers neverfail boiled fruit cake with stout

Citrus peel is essential, so I added extra to the recipe, and a good dose of preserved ginger would be delicious too. I haven’t tried adding nuts, but if you like your fruit cake on the nuttier side, go ahead and add in a few of those. I always like a mix of brazil, cashews and hazelnuts for fruit cake.

my grandmothers neverfail boiled fruit cake with stout

The very best part about this recipe – aside from it tasting utterly delicious, is that only 2 utensils get used. A medium pot to boil the fruit in, and one bowl to mix the cake by hand in.

It bakes for 90 minutes which allows you to get on with other things. No elaborate decoration and garnishing are required, and it keeps for ages when wrapped tightly and stored in an airtight container.  I’m sure a good dose of brandy will extend its shelf life, and stir-up Sunday is only a few weeks away.

my grandmothers neverfail boiled fruit cake with stout

*Cooks notes~ You can substitute the cranberries for raisins, and I like the very big seedless ones. If you live outside South Africa and don’t have a chocolate-flavored Milk Stout available, simply add your favourite stout and add 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder. Or if you are wanting to keep the alcohol out, you can do as my granny did and use 1 1/2 cups of water instead. The fruit can be boiled the night before otherwise allow it to cool to lukewarm before mixing it with the dry ingredients.

My grandmothers neverfail boiled fruit cake with stout

A few other Christmas recipes you might like:

Apple and mince pie crumble bars

Easy deep-filled Christmas mince pies

My ultimate indulgent fruitcake recipe

Easy stout fruit cake with cherries

Baked apples with brandy-soaked raisins

Recipe – Castle Chocolate Milk Stout fruit cake

easy stout fruit cake

A delicious dark fruit cake that is made by hand and so easy. No lengthy boiling of the fruit is required.
Print Recipe
easy stout fruit cake
Cook Time:1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 x 340ml bottle Castle Chocolate Milk Stout
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins or sultanas or a mix of both
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup whole glace cherries
  • 1/4 cup citrus peel glace
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 125 gm butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 free-range egg


  • In a medium, pot add the fruit, stout, butter, sugar, and baking soda and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool *this can be made the day before and left overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 150C and line a 23cm cake tin with baking paper on all sides.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
  • Add the egg and the cooled fruit mix and stir by hand until well incorporated.
  • Tip the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 ½ hours (90 minutes).
  • I love to serve this cake 'naked' with fresh fruit as a garnish. It really doesn't need anything else.
Servings: 1 cake
Author: Sam Linsell


*Disclaimer ~ this post is sponsored




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  1. This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing such great pics and I look forward to trying some of your recipes!

  2. Sam, Honestly this looks so good. Definitely one to make. Please can I ask you, maybe, a silly question. How do we go about printing out some of your recipes. I find that sometimes if I don’t have a hard copy I forget that the recipe is there. Thanks. Jenny

  3. Hi Jenny not a silly question about the printing, I would like a printer friendly version icon on the page as well.

  4. Thanks so much Jennifer 🙂

  5. Thanks Kristy and its a pleasure

  6. Just wondering if the Castle Stout is any different to any other stout that you would buy around the world, we live in

  7. Made you Milk stout Christmas cake last night. Wow what a winner. Going to make 2 more today as gifts.
    Thank you Thank you

  8. Thats great Sylvia 🙂 – and so easy right?

  9. Danielle Hervey says:

    Sam, ten of us baked this cake for our annual Xmas bake off ( now in its tenth year) and it is DELICIOUS!!!!! The chocolate flavour makes it even better. Have a fab year. Dani

  10. Thanks Dani and Im glad you enjoyed it. I just love how easy it is. I made it again for xmas and hte family loved it. Have a great year too xx

  11. Hi I am not a fan of peel glaced or otherwise. Could I sub in more cranberries os some other dried fruit?

  12. Karin Wessels says:

    Dear Sam – I baked this delicious cake for Christmas in 2020 . I managed to find Castle Chocolate Stout then , but can’t find it this year. Do you perhaps know if it is still available, please?

  13. Hi Karin – as far as I know, its no longer available. Just use normal stout and add a tablespoon of cocoa powder.

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