On the first week of December, it is brushed with three thin layers of melted apricot jam and is covered with Almond Paste Icing.
That is left for a couple of days to dry out and then it is covered, yet, again with Royal Icing.
By Christmas, the Royal Icing should be hard."
~~How to Make A Perfect Moist Fruitcake.
Hmmmm, yumm. All that "feeding" of the fruitcake and slathering it with apricot glaze and covering with delicious marzipan and then a white blanket of sugar icing... has visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.
It's time for me to bake fruitcakes. I'm definitely late on the baking bit, but I'm still in time for the feeding of the fruitcake.
"To feed a fruitcake" means to brush it liberally with the liquor of choice in the soaking, making and baking of the fruitcake.
Traditionally Brandy is used. Although whiskey or a good dark rum are good substitutes as well, and in a pinch, a medium to heavy bodied red wine will do. The rule of thumb for me is, that if it is something that you would happily drink, then, by all means use it in your fruitcakes.
The same goes for chocolates used or wine used in cooking.
However if you are of the non-alcohol-drinking set, there is always spiced sugar syrups or fruit juices to be used in-lieu of alcohol.
Fruitcake always has a bad reputation for being over-sweet, too dry and hard enough to kill a medium sized dog. But I blame it on bad, store-bought monstrosities given by people whom have no clue of good quality.
Yes they are rich and sweet. But everything in moderation, please.
Have a small slice, not a big chunk.
Have it with unsweetened tea/coffee to take the suagr-rush edge off it all.
A well made fruitcake can be like eating a slice of Heaven.
Just you wait til you've tried my Gold Medal Winning, Caramel Fruitcake. You'll be a convert!!
Some baking tips for Fruitcakes:
- Soak nuts and fruits you intend to use overnight in the liquor/fruit juice of your choice.
- Always bake at a low temperature (160° C or lower) - I prefer to go as low as 130° C.
- Keep a pan of water below the rack where the cake is baking
- If the top is browning too fast, put a piece of aluminum foil on top of the cake to retard browning.
- Replace a quantity of flour (up to 20%) with ground almond to keep the moisture, especially if you're not "feeding" your cake with alcohol.
- Add 5-10% invert sugar (such as Trimoline or Glycerin) into your recipe to keep the cake moist so it has a longer shelf life
- After the cake is baked, pour liberal amounts of liquor/fruit juice onto the hot cakes to ensure good flavour
- Do not freeze fruitcakes before "feeding" them. Well fed fruitcakes however may be wrapped in muslin and aluminum foil and plastic wrap and kept in the freezer indefinitely.
- To serve fruitcakes (esp if frozen) heat them up in microwave or a steamer and serve with Brandy sauce or Vanilla Bean Sauce.