SERIOUSLY, is it December? It’s not too late to feed a fruitcake for Christmas!
I love this time of year. That aromatic, gorgeous smell of fruitcake baking at home, puts you in that Christmas spirit.
My husband is not a fan of fruit cake, but the smell of it baking in the oven, he just loves. Those fruity, cinnamon, nutmeg aromas that it releases.
And I’m sure you will agree with me, on how delicious and juicy, the Spanish lemons and oranges are! What better way to make a fruit cake, with such fresh ingredients.
I’m just in awe of the stunning trees with the biggest and brightest colours I’ve seen.
My favourite place to eat is in Estepona square, or Marbella, Plaza de los Naranjos (oranges). You can sit in the square surrounded by orange trees. What better way to have lunch or coffee with fresh aromas. Mmmmmm…
OK let’s get back to fruitcake!
As we have just mentioned the fruit here is too good to waste. So grate off the lemon and orange zest. And squeeze those juices and let’s use it to soak your fruit for your cake. These I picked from the garden in our urbanisation.
There are a few things to watch out for when baking a fruitcake. Especially when we don’t always bake one throughout the year.
In the past, where I have got it wrong, I ended up either with a dry fruit cake or a cake with fruit all on the bottom, or the outside being baked more than the inside causing a raw middle or the sides to be over-baked that the raisins got burnt!
To help prevent these problems, you need to take time not to forget a few vital preparation steps.
- To prevent the mixed fruit drying out heat to the boil and simmer the mixed fruit with brandy or tea (for a non-alcoholic cake) for about 10 minutes. I add the lemon and orange juices and the zest to this too. Leave overnight ideally or till cooled before you mix in with the cake mixture.
- To help the cake bake at the right temperature throughout. Tie a damp cloth around your baking tin. This helps prevent the outside getting overbaked.
- Put a heating core in the middle of your tin before adding the mixture. This helps heat your cake mixture evenly throughout the tin preventing the middle of the cake being underbaked compared to the outside.
- Take the time to cut out baking parchment to put on the bottom and sides of your tin. As you will need to cool the cake in the tin later it makes it a lot easier to take out after.
- To prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake dust the fruit with flour just before you mix it in with the mixture.
- Add that beautiful spice to your cake. If you can’t find mixed spices (I had this problem at the store) mix up some ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon. And add bay leaves to the boiling fruit mixture.
- Once your cake is cooled. Make a few holes on the top with a toothpick. Wrap it in baking parchment and then foil. Feeding the cake with 2 tsp of brandy or strong tea once a week. Keep in an airtight container. Do not feed it for 24-hours before you want to cover it with royal icing. This will prevent the icing from getting moist.
I am sure there are many other top tips for baking a fruitcake.
Please share yours with me!
For details of the recipe I use please check out: www.BakewithT.com