Secrets for Perfect Fruitcake

 

Secrets of Making a Perfect Fruitcake


From the cookbook called A World of Baking by Dolores Casella

 

Perfect Fruitcake

 

On the quest to make the perfect fruitcake? Your homemade fruitcake should be made well in advance of the time that they will be used.  One month of storage is a necessity.  Two, three, or even four months is not too long a time if the storage facilities are cool and dry.

Fruitcakes freeze very well.  However, they must be aged at least four weeks before freezing, as they do not mellow while they are frozen.

Take several days to make your cake or cakes. prepare the nuts and fruits, pour the liquor to be used over them, and let the mixture stand well covered for two or three days.  Then make the batter and bake your cakes.  The cakes will be better and the pressure in a busy household will be eased.

Always bake fruitcakes at a low temperature, no higher than 325 degrees and preferably much lower.  Line the pans with brown paper or waxed paper to prevent the cakes from burning during the long baking time.  Always place a pan of hot water on the floor of the oven.  This prevents the cakes from drying out.  Test for doneness with a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake. It will come out moist, but not doughy, when the cake is done.

Cool fruitcakes on a rack in the pans in which they were baked.  When cakes are cooled, turn them out of the pans and carefully peel off the paper.  If you are not decorating the cakes before storing them, wrap them in cheesecloth.  Sprinkle liberally with whatever liquor or wine was used in the recipe.  Seal the cakes in plastic wrap or in plastic storage bags.  Once a week, brush the cakes with more liquor.

 

Perhaps the most important, do not feel absolutely bound by a recipe:

If the recipe calls for brandy and you don’t have it (or like it), use wine or even a fruit juice of your choice.

If the recipe calls for citron and you don’t care for citron, substitute another candied or dried fruit.

If you do not like raisins, use more chopped dates and fewer raisins.

If the recipe calls for particular amounts of candied pineapple and cherries, the same weight of a fruit mix may be used.  The important thing to keep in mind is that the weight of fruit and nuts should be approximately the same as in the original recipe.

Within this boundary, you can make substitutions of your own choice.

 

Additional Tips and Hints for Perfect Fruitcake:

Use fresh good quality ingredients – make sure spices are fresh.

Soak fruit and nuts at least overnight in fruit juice or liquors to soften, drain and use excess liquid in recipe.

Dredge fruit and nuts with some flour so they won’t sink in batter.  Shake off excess flour and use in the recipe.

If changing pan sizes, remember baking time will be altered in the recipe.  Fruitcakes may be baked in muffin tins, disposable pans, etc.

Be sure to grease and flour pans or use greased brown paper for liners.  Greased wax paper is also used in some recipes.

Place a pan of water on rack or on the oven floor below the baking cake.

If cake is browning too fast, place a sheet of foil the top of the cake.

Test for doneness by placing a metal/wooden skewer in center of cake.  If it comes out clean, cake is done.  Be careful not to over bake.

Always cool fruitcakes completely in pan and remove when cold.

Pour or brush some liquor of choice over hot cakes for good flavor.  Poke cake with skewer if desired.

Fruitcakes taste better with age!  This is called “ripening.” Liquor based cakes may be stored several months in advance in a cool place prior to serving.  Non-liquor soaked cakes may be kept in a cool place or in refrigerator for short term storage or a or freezer for long storage.  Be sure to ripen fruit cakes a few weeks before freezing.

To store for a long period of time, wrap the cake in brandy or wine-soaked towels, and then wrap in either plastic wrap or aluminum foil.


FruitcakeSoak2

 

Wrapped Fruitcake

 

For very long storage, bury the liquor-soaked cake in powdered sugar and place in a tightly covered tin in a cool place (fruit cakes can be enjoyed as long as 25 years this way.)  Check liquored-soaked cakes periodically and re-wrap in liquor soaked cloth.

Frost cakes close to serving time (not ahead of time).  Use a sugar-syrup glaze to brush on cakes for a shine and to adhere.

Slice cakes in a sawing motion with sharp thin blade of knife or a serrated knife.

Add 1 cup of applesauce to your fruit cake recipes to make a moister fruitcake.

Re-freshen stale (old) fruitcakes by gently heating pieces (microwave or steamer) and serve with a hard sauce, brandy sauce, glaze or desired topping.

 

 

Fruitcake SecretsMore Delicious Fruitcake Recipes:

Regal Fruitcake
Fruit cake lovers will delight in this delicious homemade fruitcake.  Just like the fruitcakes that my Mom and Grandma made every Christmas season.

Elsie’s Blue Ribbon Fruitcakes
Elsie was a wonderful woman who went to our church.  Every year, she made the most delicious fruitcakes and would sell them during the Christmas season at a bazaar she held.  She always made 24 or more cakes every year.  They always sold out!  I always bought several of these fruitcakes from her each year.

Vanilla Wafer Fruitcake
A friend left this for me on my desk – i don’t know where it came from, but surely do enjoy it!  My husband loves it so much that I bake it in the form of cupcakes all year long.

Dresden Stollen
This is the Dresden Stollen that is served in my home at Christmas time.  This recipe was used by my mother, grandmother, and generations before them.  I hope it will become a part of your holiday tradition too.

 

Related Recipes:

Categories:

Baking    Cake    Christmas    Cooking Lessons - Cooking 101    Fruit Cakes   

Comments and Reviews

33 Responses to “Secrets for Perfect Fruitcake”

  1. Kayla

    Hi,
    I am making a fruit cake for the first time using my grandmother’s partial recipe (a lot got lost in translation) as a surprise for my father’s birthday. I started the cake about 3 weeks ago and have been marinating it in blackberry wine once a week. The cake seems overly soggy and is definitely dripping whenever I take it out every week. I have about two more weeks before it is time to serve it. What should I do to dry out the cake? Should I stop pouring the wine over it at this point, set it outside of the fridge so it can air out, or anything?
    Any suggestions you have would be much appreciated.
    Thanks.
    Kayla

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      Hi Kayla,
      Fortunately, I have never had this problem. I did some research on the internet and came up with these ideas.

      1. Undercooked fruitcake cannot be re-cooked. It can be used as the basis of mini Christmas Pudding.
      2. Cut out the soggy center.
      3. Sometimes if fruit cake has not cooled sufficiently and is wrapped up it can cause a slimy wettness. If your cake is not slimy it should be fine. Leave the cake unwrapped for a few hours, if it is fresh alcohol it will disperse.
      4. I have read that I should freeze my fresh fruit cake over night to help it mature a bit faster and to cut easier?
      5. A chat forum on your problem: Fruitcake problems

      Reply
    • Pamela Byars

      Linda Stradley , My Mother and grandmother always made fruit cake at Christmas.My Mother also use blackberry wine (MOgan David) mixed with some sugar. do you have the recipe for the soak?

      Reply
      • Whats Cooking America

        Any fruitcake recipe that calls or liquor or fruitjuice can be substituted with blackberry wine. The Secrets to Perfect Fruitcake page, has links to a few different great fruitcake recipes to try out.

        Reply
    • Bob

      Hey, Kayla: hopefully, you aren’t POURING fluid on that cake. Instead, simply take the time to brush on whichever alcohol you use. I prefer brandies. Use a clean brush and brush on maybe 1/2 cup at a time. Brush on more alcohol per your schedule, but maybe take it easy on a soggy cake.

      I know this reply is dated, but perhaps it will help others.

      Reply
  2. Joanna

    This might sound silly but which part of the oven do you bake a fruit cake? Top, bottom to middle? If never been taught how to bake so I have been teaching myself through cookbooks, internet and research. Also repeating again and again until you get it right. There have been a few times that the result was totally uneatable and ended up in the garbage but a few hints for baking a fruit cake would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Kathy Gleason

    After a few decades of not baking fruit cake, I am all set for this holiday season. (Retirement and baking are a happy couple.) Using a new recipe with dried fruit rather than candied and have decided to use Bundt pans rather than loaf. How can I keep the design of the pan while lining it with paper? Great to see someone else who knows Delores Casella. Her books on bread and baking were my first purchases when I set up my own kitchen over 40 years ago.

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      Most shaped pans and pans with designs are made to be nonstick. It is generally a good idea to oil and flour them to help ensure that you get the cleanest release on your cake to preserve as much of the original design as possible. If you line you pan with paper, you will lose the design.

      Reply
  4. Audrey Wylie

    I am using a very old recipe and have a question. The recipe has candied pineapple, cherry, etc. and lots of pecans.
    The tube pan I am using is a non-stick and the cone and bottom of the pan lift out. Do you think it is necessary to use Crisco with pieces of a paper bag, as well as flouring the pan. Thanks much.

    Reply
  5. Min

    Can i use black treacle instead of apple sauce to make the fruitcake more moist?Thanks.

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      Black treacle is an extremely thick, dark, sugar syrup containing cane molasses.

      Reply
  6. kim

    Which wine can I use to bake a fruit cake? be specific please

    Reply
  7. Stephenie

    Hi!! I had make the fruit cake once but i feel the cake too sweet and a little bit dry when I cut it a lot of crumb dropping down. It could not cut nicely. I saw you mention can be added 1 cup of apple sauce to get it moist, in my country I don’t have apple sauce here. Can I use granted apple? Is that will too wet for the cake? Another question is: You mean to make the cake moist is to put water bottom of the cake? Is that you mean water bath bake?

    Reply
  8. Silvana Caruana

    Why all my fruit goes at the bottom of the cake after baking pls

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      Tip: After measuring the flour, but before mixing it into the batter, use the flour to toss with the dried fruit and nuts.

      Reply
    • Laura Golden

      If you flour your fruits and nuts, they should then not sink into the bottom of your batter. We mix ours in all of the dry ingredients before adding in the wet ingredients.

      Reply
  9. AileenCMM

    Hi Linda,

    I have wrapped my fruit cake in a cheesecloth and I will open it up again next week to put more liquor…should I use new cheesecloth for re-wrapping or could I use the old one that I first used? I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience…Thank you…

    Reply
  10. Linda P

    Hi Linda – could you tell me where to buy the waxy, cardboard collar I see in the picture of your cake? I assume you bake the cake in that?

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Whats Cooking America

      To store for a long period of time, wrap the cake in brandy or wine-soaked towels, and then wrap in either plastic wrap or aluminum foil. The picture shows plastic wrap over wine-soaked towels.

      Reply
  11. Miz Whip

    If I leave my cakes in paper baking pans, what is the best way to:
    1) soak with brandy
    2) keep them moist for a long time

    thanks!

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      I have never used these paper baking pans and honestly do not know about them. Here is a link to a forum that discusses using paper loaf pans that might help you: Using Paper Loaf Pans

      Reply
  12. Bernie

    I am from Canada and I usually boil my Fruits do I still need to soak it overnight or for two days. Also would I need to add applesauce to my cake? To make it moist…what temp should I bake? Can I use whisky instead of brandy, rum or wine?

    Please also let me know if I can bake and feed this cake too? As I have never done this before.

    Thank you,
    Bernie

    Reply
    • Crystal

      I used bourbon and whiskey in mine. First time trying it’s still in the oven. What does it mean when u say toothpick should be moist

      Reply
      • Nancy

        To test for doneness you want to push a toothpick into the fruitcake and it should still come out with some sticky residue on. The fruitcake will continue setting up as it cools and you want a moist fruitcake. If you tooth pick, after insertion into fruitcake, comes out dry, no residue, the fruitcake is overcooked.

        Reply
  13. Mary Austin

    I would like to buy a fruitcake from you the old fashion kind

    Reply
  14. Marie

    What is the cause for my Fruitcake to crumble when I try to cut it?

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      (1) Over cooking the fruitcake can cause this problem.

      (2) If the fruit in the cake is too large, the cake will crumble when slicing. Also, if the fruits you use are too dry, they will absorb a lot of moisture from the batter during baking. Do not use last-year’s fruit that you have save. Purchase a new batch every year.

      (3) Not using proper measuring utensils and cause a dry fruitcake. Always use liquid measuring cups for the liquids and dry measuring cups for the dry ingredients to ensure accurate measurements. Always lightly spoon the flour into the dry measuring cup.

      Use a serrated blade knife when slicing your fruitcake. Check out this interesting Sweet Success web page on How To Cut A Fruitcake

      If your fruitcake is not dry, but still will not cut cleanly, try refrigerating it just before slicing with a sharp knife. Please do not store you fruitcake in the refrigerator as it may cause the sugars to crystalize.

      Reply
  15. Jackie

    with what do i stick my glazed fruit on top of my fruit cake ?

    Reply

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