Fruit Cake That Will Last Ten Years? Help!

Decorating By rosech Updated 8 Feb 2012 , 3:01pm by scp1127

rosech Posted 4 Feb 2012 , 11:33am
post #1 of 14

A bride has proposed a fruit cake that will last ten years. I have used Rachel Alen's Christmas cake recipe for my fruit cakes so far, modifying according to available ingredients. My sister's wedding cake was ok for about one year when she finished it. I have had two incidents of cakes too heavy complaints. One feedback was fruits sunk to the bottom.
Apart from that, 2 very bad cases:
1. Guests' foil wrapped slices developed moulds after a month.
2. One of 4 cakes had two tiny grain/flour caterpillars on it. Cake was brushed with brandy 3 times before covering with fondant, 4 wks after cooking.

Our house had grain eating bugs due to improperly treated maize that we had. It has since been fumigated. I keep fruit cakes in the pantry.

What should I do to deliver a fruit cake that will last ten years? May I have every detail? Recipes, tips? Wedding is in August. I have not got the order yet. Most people here celebrate with fruit cake. I have sampled some cakes by others and they are tasteless and dry. Is it possible to have a cake that's delicious, moist and not very heavy? What modifications shd I make for a lighter cake?

Do I have to boil the apricot jam before applying? My pantry has no window. That covers the dark and dry part, not sure about the cool part. How do you tell that a cake has matured? If I were to use the freezing method for maturing, can I leave the cake in there until I cover it if I am not sure about the storage room temperature? There is a forum where someone mentioned that nuts shd be left out for long lasting cakes as they affect the taste in the long run. Should I leave nuts out? I hear marzipan shd be refrigerated but at the shops where I buy supplies they keep it in the shelf. What is the purpose of refrigerating marzipan if you are going to leave cake outside after covering? Does marzipan have to dry before covering with fondant? If say, currants are not available, can I sub same amount with raisins or sultanas? Rachel Alen's recipe has dates but other recipes I have collected don't. Do they have any effect? Some cakes I have done have looked more oily than others. Whats up with that? What is the purpose of black treacle mentioned in some recipes? Thank you in advance for your help.

13 replies
scp1127 Posted 4 Feb 2012 , 12:02pm
post #2 of 14

My fruitcake has been going strong since December 6th. I don't know about 10 years, but I'm guessing my recipe will last indefinitely. I start with a whole bottle of rum. The fruit is soaked, then boiled. I spritz the cakes periodically with cognac. The HD was very curious abot my science experiment but it passed as still safe.

I have about $90.00 in ingredients in this recipe. All fruit is dried and great tasting. My only change for next year is to start with Myer's Dark Rum instead of Bacardi Gold. My spritz is Hennessy Cognac.

True fruitcake connoiseurs love the cake.

ickworthpark Posted 4 Feb 2012 , 1:15pm
post #3 of 14

My first question would be why? Why would you want to keep a cake for 10 years? However that aside I know rich fruit cakes can be kept for many years, light fruit cakes are recommended to be eaten within a month but I've had some longer than that and they have been fine.
To help keep the cake for a long time, pricking all over with a toothpick and feeding with a couple of tablespoons of alcohol eg brandy, whiskey every few weeks is recommended.

I don't add nuts and would imagine that as they can't absorb the alcohol / sugar they would eventually turn rancid so I would leave them out.
You shouldn't wrap fruit cake directly in tinfoil as the foil will react with the acid in the fruit. It should be wrapped in parchment/greaseproof first.

If the cake is iced, before eating you would have to remove & replace the marzipan/icing after about 1 year of storage.

If they want the same cake for a 10 year anniversary or something then I would suggest giving them the recipe so they can replicate the cake closer to the date rather than keeping it for 10 years! Plus as you will have no control over how that cake is stored over that period you can hardly be held accountable if it isn't good to eat after that amount of time.

I have never heard of marzipan needing to be refrigerated. Yes you should let it dry on the cake for a day or two before icing. Do NOT use cornflour with your fondant as this will react with the marzipan and lead to fermentation!
I never use currants as I don't like them. You can use any mixture/ratio of dried fruit that you like but this will obviously affect the overall favour slightly.
Fruit sinking can be caused by a number of things - if you wash your fruit make sure it is completely dried before adding to the cake. Cherries are usually washed, dried and floured before adding to stop them sinking. Your batter might be a bit too wet causing the fruit to sink. As kids we were always warned not to slam doors when a fruit cake was in the oven as this would cause the fruit to sink! Not sure if that's actually true.
Hope this helps. there's numerous sites with info on fruit cakes so search around and good luck!

sillyoldpoohbear Posted 4 Feb 2012 , 2:07pm
post #4 of 14

I use a fruit cake recipe that has been used by my family for 40 years & I've never had any compIaints or problems. I always make my fruit cakes at least 3 months before they are to be eaten to make sure they are lovely & moist. I wrap them with greaseproof & then in tin foil when they are completely cooled, which can take several hours. They arre then stored in the pantry as it's the coolest, dryest place in my house.

I use Brandy in them & gently pour it on with a spoon when the cake is still luke warm to help it soak in. This is the only time I add alcohol to the cake. I was taught not to prick a cake as there is a chance you can introduce bacteria into it.

The only nuts I use are ground almonds, but could be substituted with flour. I've never used whole nuts as my mom put flaked almonds in a fruit cake once & they went really hard & almost chipped a tooth! Plus they looked like fingernails lol

The earliest I marzipan is a week before it is due to be eaten. This is more of a personal preferrence. You must always boil apricot jam. We were shown, at college, that if not boiled the jam can ferment & causes an air bubble under the marzipan which then explodes. Very freaky.

I think treacle is added to make a richer darker fruit cake. What other benefits it has I'm not certain. Anyone else know?

I used to buy currants, sultanas etc seperately & weigh them all out but now just buy mixed fruit as it's more economical. However sometimes I just use all sultanas if they have a good batch of juicy plump ones in stock.

I've never heard or known anyone keep a cake for 10 years, though. I had someone bring me a wedding cake once (someone else made) to be used as a christening cake. It still had the flower pick in & just had a piece of of greaseproof placed on top & was in a tatty cardboard box. I don't know how long they'd kept it but it didn't smell good icon_sad.gif

sillyoldpoohbear Posted 4 Feb 2012 , 2:13pm
post #5 of 14
Originally Posted by scp1127

I start with a whole bottle of rum. The fruit is soaked, then boiled. I spritz the cakes periodically with cognac. The HD was very curious abot my science experiment but it passed as still safe.

This sounds like a carribean fruit cake my friend used to make. The difference she did was put the soaked fruit in a blender before adding to the mix. She used to store jars of the alcohol soaked fruit for months.Very yummy indeed icon_biggrin.gif

BizCoCos Posted 4 Feb 2012 , 2:43pm
post #6 of 14

10 years-is that safe? Although Americans all know the joke about the fruitcake that has been regifted for years and years.

rosech Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 1:13pm
post #7 of 14

Thanks everyone for your inputs. Bride says she wants a cake that will last that long so all her kids get to eat it!

Dayti Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:53pm
post #8 of 14

I would suggest she freezes it...there is no way that cake can last 10 years and still be in prime condition, I'm 99.9% sure of it. If I were a 9 or 10 year old, and my mum asked me to eat some fruit cake from before I was born, I would probably run a mile.

sillyoldpoohbear Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 5:16pm
post #9 of 14
Originally Posted by rosech

Thanks everyone for your inputs. Bride says she wants a cake that will last that long so all her kids get to eat it!

That's a new one to me. I know it used to be traditional to keep the top tier of your wedding cake for your first childs Christening cake, but not keep it long enough for all your children to be able to eat it!

I still wouldn't think it's possible to keep a cake that long. Even frozen things deteriate after a certain amount of time. I've frozen cake scraps, for cake pops, for 3 months & even they didn't taste the same after that amount of time.

scp1127 Posted 6 Feb 2012 , 11:01am
post #10 of 14

I agree with Dayti that it will not be in prime condition, but with my method, chemically I don't see a danger. But I have no intention of keeping mine for years. These are just leftovers from personal gifts and sales during the holidays. The fact that they are still there is because I just want to see. They are obviously getting stronger.

AnnieCahill Posted 6 Feb 2012 , 11:43am
post #11 of 14

I think the bride is making a very brazen assumption that the kids will actually WANT to eat a cake that's 10 years old. LOL!

That said, I have heard of people saving it for a couple of years, but they have always "fed" it with booze to preserve it. Are you talking about an actual cake iced in marzipan then fondant or royal icing? I'm not sure about that...

I would love to make a real fruit cake but I don't know what a "good recipe" looks like.

rosech Posted 6 Feb 2012 , 1:48pm
post #12 of 14

She wants the cake iced for the ceremony then one of the tiers saved for that purpose. She will be coming to my place today or tomorrow for further discussions. I will keep in mind all your inputs. You rock CCers!

BlueRose8302 Posted 6 Feb 2012 , 8:03pm
post #13 of 14

I would tell her that it is a nice idea, but suggest that you make her a 10th anniversary cake--maybe even for a discount. That could lock in a client for years, maybe!

I didn't know fruitcakes were so big for wedding cakes. Or any cakes for that matter. Sounds hard to make! I'll stick with my chocolate/yellow/strawberry/red velvet.

Happy baking!!

scp1127 Posted 8 Feb 2012 , 3:01pm
post #14 of 14

My grown kids don't want my three month old cake. I can't imagine serving an authentic fruitcake to children. My guess is that they would spit it out and run for a drink or a toothbrush. I would probably do the same after 10 years.

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