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Tips for Making a Christmas Fruit Cake

Posted by Gwen Watson on Nov 26, 2014

Tips for Making a Christmas Fruit Cake

The Christmas season brings many images to mind, one of which is the infamous fruit cake! Say what you will about it, but there’s a good chance that you’ll encounter at least one of these fruit cakes during the holiday season. It has become a staple Christmas dessert and/or gift.

Traditionally, a fruit cake is made with candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices. It can also be soaked in liquor, typically rum or brandy.

If you’re interested in serving fruit cake to your guests this Christmas or giving fruit cake as a gift, you might be trying to decide which fruits to include in the fruit cake. After all, there are so many options! The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you plan to make a light or dark fruit cake.

If you plan to make a light fruit cake, you’ll want to stick with light-colored fruits like pineapple, currants, apricots, apples, pears, peaches, and banana along with a light corn syrup. For a dark fruit cake, you’ll want to use darker fruits like dates, cranberries, raisins, prunes, cherries, figs, and blueberries, along with a dark corn syrup or molasses. Of course, you should always use the fruits that you like the best! Substitutions are usually fine within any fruit cake recipe. If it calls for a fruit that you simply don’t like, don’t add it! If you’re wondering how much fruit is enough fruit, a rule of thumb is that at least half the weight of the cake should be from the fruit.

After you’ve collected the fruits that you plan to use, the next step is to cut them into small pieces to marinate for approximately 72 hours prior to the time you will cook the fruit cake. Marinate the fruit in the liquor or wine of your choice. Like the fruits that you choose, lighter alcohol is better for light fruit cakes and dark alcohol is better for dark fruit cakes. Be sure to use good quality alcohol. It doesn’t need to be top shelf, but it should at the very least be drinkable! If you plan to make alcohol-free fruit cake, juice can be used as an alternate to the alcohol. Along with a mix of spices, the fruit and marinade should be covered in a glass or ceramic bowl. When the fruit is ready to be added to the batter, toss the fruit with some flour to prevent the fruit from sticking together.

If you have leftover fruits and nuts, it can be used to create a design on top of the fruit cake after it has been cooked and cooled completely. Top with a hot corn syrup glaze that will keep the fruit topping in place.

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