Tis the season for fruitcakes and if you’d like to try your hand at making one yourself (or troubleshoot any problems), here are a few tips and recipes I’ve collected to help achieve the best results possible…
Completely dust the fruit and nuts with flour so they don’t fall to the bottom of the batter while baking. Shake off excess flour before mixing in the recipe.
Oven temperature should be low enough to cook the batter fully without drying out the cake (250°F).
First line the cake pans with several layers of brown paper, this insulates the batter against excess drying.
Baking pans should only be filled 2/3 full of batter, not full.
After baking, the cake should be thoroughly cooled on a rack, then removed from pan and wrapped in aluminum foil. Store in a cake box. Cake may be wrapped in several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Brandy or fruit juice may be poured on the cloth occasionally.
Make fruitcakes at least 3 weeks before using, this allows them time to ripen.
Don’t freeze a fruitcake right away. Let it age at least 3 to 4 weeks first so it has a chance to build its flavor (ripen).
Use the best spices, nuts and dried fruits you can afford. Spices should be fresh.