Fruitcake 101 – Tips for Baking & Storing Fruit Cakes.
Baking a fruitcake is a little different than regular cakes. In this Fruitcake 101, you will find tips for baking the perfect fruit cake and tips for storing your fruitcake weather you make yours with alcohol or fruit juice.
I know Christmas is coming so everyone has almost started with the Fruitcake preparations. To those of us that have been doing fruitcakes for years; it’s just a regular cake. For those that are just starting out; it’s quite unnerving when people tell you – Fruitcake is different? How is it different? Why is it different? and What do I need to do differently?
How is Fruit Cake Different?
- Well, it has so much more than just four egg and butter? The real difference is the addition of all those gorgeous fruits.
- Most often we eat our cakes baked fresh, but not a fruitcake. Usually, a fruitcake is well preserved, fed with alcohol over weeks before the special day.
- If you do not follow the right process for storing fruit cake you could end up with a moldy fruit cake which is not very pleasant
- Most cakes are decorated with buttercream, ganache fondant and such but a traditional fruit cake is brushed with orange marmalade, then wrapped in Marzipan and then covered in Royal Icing or sometimes Fondant.
My mom baked cakes a lot. In fact, she took orders for cakes but never decorated them. I remember the once July sets in she’d soak her fruits, once October sets in she’d start making her preparations and arrangements to make sure she has a nice cozy cool corner for the fruitcakes to rest. That’s what she’d call ‘the season’. She was very good at baking so she’d get book way in advance. I credit all my baking skills to her.
Fruitcake 101 (Save/Pin)
I have given you a few fruitcake recipes so this post is not about one recipe. And you can use it with almost all fruitcakes that call for dry fruit and nuts. Especially the ones you make during the Christmas season. My recipes are scattered between my two blogs, this one here Veena Azmanov as well as my contribution to Cake Decorating Tutorials.
Here are the links to my Christmas Cake Recipes – Rich Fruitcake, Dark Fruit Cake, Boozy Fruitcake, Eggnog Yule Log Cake, Chocolate Yule Log Cake, Traditional Christmas Pudding, Ultimate Christmas Pudding,
I have compiled a few tips that I think are really important to know when baking fruitcakes. I do hope you find them useful. If you have any more suggestions please put them in the comment below. We’d love to hear them.
Tips for Baking a perfect Fruitcake – Fruit Cake 101 (Save/Pin)
- Always soak the fruit, at least overnight if not for longer t it will soften and make the cake moist. Soaking the fruits means that the fruit will not absorb any more moisture from the cake batter and will cook in its own juices. This results in a very flavorful moist cake.
- Dust the fruit in flour before you add to the batter so they will not sink to the bottom of the pan. If the fruit is wet, drain excess liquid and dust with flour just before adding to the batter. The fruit on its own, when added to the batter, tends to sink to the bottom of the cake. When you dust the fruit with flour – this flour helps to hold onto the cake batter keeping it in place.
- You can add the liquid in which the fruit was soaked to the batter separately. (unless you want to limit the quantity of alcohol or unless stated otherwise in the recipe)
- Fill the pan only 2/3 full, not more. Fruitcakes do not rise when baking because they do not have too many leavening agents or lots of eggs. But a 2/3 full pan is always good for even baking in cakes.
- Fruitcakes cook long and slow. Which is why linning the baking pans on all sides is very important. This will prevent the outside from overcooking while the center is still cooking.
- When it comes to fruitcakes, I prefer to line the pan as well as use cake strips. This always gives me a moist cake. It does take longer to bake with the slow cooking.
- Ensure oven temperature is low so the batter will cook evenly without drying out the fruit.
- Often add some water to the baking tray around the pan or a small bowl of water in the oven can help keep the cake moist.
MIXED SPICES AND FLAVORS.
One of my pet peeve about Christmas baking or should I say fall recipes is that people add too much of spices. So much that everything tastes like cinnamon, pumpkin spice or gingerbread spice. I think adding spices is great if you can keep the proportion to a minimum. The spices are there to enhance flavors not to overpower the other flavors. So, next time you follow a recipe with spices? perhaps check to see if you want them all or reduce the quantity a bit.
- Mixed spice is generally made with cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, allspice, and ground nutmeg sometimes even caraway seeds, cardamom, and cayenne.
- If you cannot get mixed spice? add 1/8 tsp each of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground clove and or ground allspice.
- Don’t like spices in your cake? – add 1/8 tsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla or 1/2 tsp almond extract – you can add all three or just simple plain vanilla extract.
- If you are going to use orange marmalade to brush the fruitcake later you could add 1/2 tsp of orange extract to enhance the flavors when baking too.
This was our Tip Thursday
you can find them all on this blog and Pin them on Pinterest here to
Tips for Storing Fruitcakes – Fruit Cake 101 (Save/Pin)
In general – you can store Fruitcake at room temperature for one month, refrigerator for six months, or store in the freezer for up to a year!!!
To ensure you have a nice moist fruitcake.
- Take a muslin/cheesecloth soaked in rum, brandy or fruit juice Wrap the cake well with this liquor/fruit soaked cheesecloth.
- Cover the wrapped cake in aluminum foil.
- Do not let the aluminum touch the cake directly. The acid in the liquor will corrode the foil and affect the flavor of the cake.
- Place the cake in an airtight plastic box.
- Keep away from direct sunlight.
- The liquor/juice soaked muslin/cheesecloth can be refreshed every month to ensure a moist fruit cake (optional)
- Place an apple in the box with the fruitcake to help keep moisture. (optional)
- Extended Length storage – to store for more than a year. Cover the alcohol soaked fruit cake in powdered sugar, then in plastic and then in an airtight container.
Again this was our Tip Thursday –
you can find them all on this blog and Pin them on Pinterest here to
Don’t forget to save this recipe on Pinterest for later.
You can find a collection of my tutorials and recipes here on Pinterest.
More recipes for Christmas Baking.
You can find my Christmas recipes here on this page.
Alternatively, you if you looking specifically for Christmas cakes – Here are the links to my Christmas Cake Recipes – Rich Fruitcake, Dark Fruit Cake, Boozy Fruitcake, Eggnog Yule Log Cake, Chocolate Yule Log Cake, Traditional Christmas Pudding, Ultimate Christmas Pudding, Glace Mixed Fruit Bundt Cake or Tutti Frutti Cake Recipe