Many celebratory and Christmas cakes are densely packed with fruit and often made in advance then wrapped and left to 'mature' for a few weeks or months. The popular custom of feeding the cake periodically with small amounts of alcohol can help to keep the cake soft and add extra flavour. Lighter spongier fruit cakes, which contain less sugar, can also be fed although they will not keep so long.
- Fruit cake of your choice
- Alcohol feed – choose a strong spirit for feeding the fruit cake such as rum, brandy, whisky, orange liqueur, cherry brandy or amaretto
- Skewer or BBQ stick
- Cake syringe
- Greaseproof or baking parchment
- Aluminium foil
To feed the cake
- Unwrap your cake, turn it upside down and peel off any paper.
- Using a skewer or BBQ stick, prick a series of holes all over the bottom of the cake.
- Fill a cake syringe with 10ml of your chosen alcohol.
- Put the tip of the syringe into each hole and press a tiny amount of alcohol into each one.
- Wrap the cake in greaseproof paper or baking parchment then wrap it in aluminium foil.
- For storage, wrap the cake in a second layer of foil or in an airtight tin.
- You can repeat the feeding process every couple of weeks for three or four feeds. However, if the cake makes the work surface damp, appears wet or stodgy, discontinue feeding.
To serve the cake
- Leave your cake for a couple of weeks after its last feed.
- The cake can be served naked.
- For traditional marzipan and fondant icing, spread warm apricot jam over the top and cover with a layer of marzipan. Leave for about a day for the marzipan to become firm then cover with fondant icing and adding any decoration.
- Once cut, celebration cakes will store well if wrapped and kept in an airtight container.
- Fruit cake also freezes well.
- To serve an iced fruit cake that has been stored for a long time, unwrap it and remove the old icing and marzipan. Check the cake still tastes good, then cover with fresh marzipan and icing.
For more advice and recipes head to the Doves Farm website.