I do my cakes per order. Some cakers in my area have this charging system of matured wedding cake price vesus non matured cake. I feel that I must have a fruit cake price, period. How mature it is going to be will depend on how early someone makes their order. Are there any of you who price like that? I want to participate in a cake tasting expo in July and I want to justify my pricing system. I also want to add something to that effect on my FB page. TIA.
There is another way to promote to your fruitcake customers.
"We will sell no fruitcake before its time" as a humorous example.
You could stock matured cake baked in loaf pans to be cut up as a kitchen cake. That way you have a single fruitcake price regardless of how soon the customer places a cake order. You can bake up a reasonable number of fruitcakes ahead of time for Christmas based on your previous year's orders, so that you have a few extra to sell at the last minute.
You would be better off simply asking for a 3 month advance contract for wedding cakes regardless of whether you are selling fruitcake or white cake.
I really prefer fruitcake that has matured for at least 2 months, and I plan ahead. But to my surprise I have also found that a "white" fruitcake made with a half dose of presoaked moist fruits like candied ginger and dates will mature in a week or two. What I do now is stock the presoaked fruit so that a decent cake can be baked a month ahead of time.
I don't see why someone should be charged more because the fruit cake has had time to mature, unless you're feeding more liquor into it after baking.
I make Trinidadian Black Cake at Christmas time. It is basically a very dark fruit cake (but don't let my DH hear you call it that, LOL). If someone ordered a fruit cake from me, that would be what they would get as well. I always have fruits soaking in a jar in case I need a cake. I will use what I have at Christmas, and right after, put up my next bottles. Because the fruit has been sitting in the alcohol for a number of months, I don't need to let it mature for very long after baking. However, I do prefer a few weeks before eating it. I have made a cake with as little as 3 weeks of soaking and no one really noticed anything.
I would be telling customers that you need a minimum of 8 weeks for any fruit cake order (unless you plan to have soaked fruits available at all times). That way you've got at least 4-5 weeks for soaking and another 2 weeks to mature if you wish before decorating.
I don't charge any different , for the cakes . If I have to make one for a short turn around , I will actually mature it in the freezer . I don't know why but it works. Even a few days seems to make a difference.
Thank you everyone for the information. I also do not see the reasoning behind charging differently.
Sorry for the side track, but is it possible to carve a fruit cake? Will there be lots of "bumps" to deal with? I have a request for my first fruit cake.
A fruit cake can be carved with a very good serrated knife IF there are no nuts in it. Presoak the fruit before baking, if possible. Give it some booze and at least 2 weeks after baking it, then chill it, and it will carve very well.
OK now please tell us what the customer wants you to carve? Is this to be a 3D shape more than 4" deep? Or are you trying to make the typical smooth top edge? in which case you really want pan(s) with the rounded top.
Because stacking fruitcake with icing just doesn't work the same way as stacking regular cake. It will be VERY VERY HEAVY. Have you worked through that with the customer? Maybe you should use one 2" thick layer of fruitcake and then stack poundcake on top of it to carve?
I would use homemade marzipan between fruitcake layers if I had to stick them together for a deep tier. I would brush the rolled layers of marzipan on both sides with strained fruit jam that has been boiled until the sticky drop stage.
Traditional fruitcake then gets 2 coats--painted with boiled jam to stick down a layer of rolled marzipan, and then a layer of fondant. This gives a very smooth surface to decorate. You can read details of all this in any British book including the Alan Dunn flower books.
I need to make a cowboy hat. I figured that that shouldn't be too bad to do. Should I make it solid? Or tort it with marzipan? It is only going to be about 6" or 7" round, but needs to be a bit taller.
It's just for the groom.
I used the 9" Wilton oval pans to make a man's hat cake once.
I made the brim of the hat from a 1/4" thick piece of homemade gelatin gumpaste and the flower formers to get the curve. This dried hard in a couple of days.
Then I baked the two layers so the whole thing was 4" high. With the oval shape, there was only a little carving on the top edge and some of the shape was built up with icing.
You can cut fruitcake from a square/rectangle into the oval shape. Fruitcake bakes just fine in 8" square pans and the oval shape fits across the diagonal.
So you can put two oval fruitcake layers together with marzipan between, and then add the shaping with marzipan on top instead of cutting away too much cake. When you cover with the fondant, you will have a great looking hat shape that is almost lifesized. And people will be amazed.
That's awesome BakingIrene! Thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate it.
I have carved a pillow out of fruit cake. It was bumpy. I put a little more marzipan in the 'holes' to smooth it out before covering with fondant. However I had not let the cake settle for some time.
Also thinking about stacking. I have not stacked fruitcake tiers on their own. Do you use support for fruit cakes? Also I have had problems with fondant cracking when I have stacked cakes a day after covering. Will there be a problem stacking say, a week after covering?
When I bake a tiered fruitcake, each tier is a single 3" deep cake. I have an ancient set of tinned pans that my mother used for her own wedding cake. The biggest pan is only 12" square because fruitcake servings are much smaller than other cake.
I make my own fondant with powdered sugar, water, flavour, gelatin and corn syrup but NO glycerine. I let that set overnight after covering the cakes before anything else happens. But I don't live in a humid climate, so you might give it a few days if you do.
If you stack these generally smaller tiers, you need to use a few dowels in the bottom tier, and a cardboard circle between tiers. Then a long dowel that goes down through the whole stack.
Since the original question seems to have been answered - please excuse my side track as many who view this thread probably have the expertise to give advice.... My parents were married 56 yrs ago in the USA, the one photo of them cutting the cake shows my mother's horrified expression as she discovers a plain white cake (not the fruit cake she'd expected). For their anniversary I want to make a very small fruit cake as a surprise. I do not know anyone who eats or bakes fruit cake so cannot judge what a good recipe looks like... Anyone know of a simple recipe even a fruitcake virgin could make? TIA.
I had trouble giving links out earlier...google "all recipes fruitcake" and choose the kind (white, light, dark) that your mother has talked about liking.
Avoid recipes that have you whip and fold in the egg white...that is just about impossible with a loaded fruitcake batter. Otherwise, you buy the kinds of dried and candied fruit that your mother would like, you chop it up to raisin size and stick it in a jar with brandy or rum to cover, and let it sit for a week or more (sloshing the stuff to keep it all wet). Then you mix and bake. Use as much fruit as you like up to equal amount of fruit and cake batter. Or use less fruit if you prefer.
To bake fruitcake, I use light coloured pans (loaf pans are really good for a first time) and two layers of parchment paper liner. Cut the paper to fit the pan all the way up the sides, I do not grease at all. You need to check your oven to see that it holds a constant temperature set at 275-300F, and rotate the cake every half hour so that it cooks evenly without browning too much.
Cool the cake down completely in the pan, and then use a spoon to spread more rum or brandy over all sides. Wrap in plastic wrap and hold at cool room temperature for a few weeks, then add some more booze, re-wrap and hold it for a few more weeks.
More questions? just ask.
Thank you Bakingirene! I will follow your great tips. And, I finally understand why fruitcake lovers are such happy people - that is one boozy cake!
I had problems with the pre soaked fruit method. Cakes come out greasy and fruits sink. Some rise and come out well, some don't. I also tried the pre boiling fruits method. Cake did not rise. The cake did not taste good too. It had cocoa. However, this method has worked out very well for me:
I adjust fruit amounts and types. So far the cakes I baked about 2 months ago are ok. I fed them 3 times. Will they last for one year without going bad? TIA.
this is a recipe for a fruitcake that can be eaten immediately
it only has three ingredients and is very easy to make.
It is probably a good place to start for a fruitcake novice.
I like to add a bit of booze to it so just replace a couple of tablespoons of the milk for rum or brandy .
I am a Queenslander so my choice is Bundaberg Rum. .
1 kg mixed fruit
700 mls chocolate milk
2 cups self raising flour
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Prep: 8 hours | Cook: 2 hours | Extra time: 1 day 14 hours
1. Soak the mixed fruit in the chocolate milk overnight in the fridge
2. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Line the bottom and sides of 25cm square tin with either baking paper or alfoil, with the lining coming over the sides by about 5cm. Spray the paper or alfoil with some cooking spray.
3. Sift the flour into the soaked fruit one cup at a time and mix in well after each addition. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and cook for 1½ to 2 hours. After 1½ hours insert a skewer or cake tester into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean your cake is ready to be taken from the oven.
4. Leave the in cake tin until cooled and then put onto a wire rack to fully cool.
I pre soak all of my fruit for regardless, but the majority of my customers (the ones who want fruit cake at least for christmas) know to place there orders in September/October
i do believe that maturing the cake gives is better but at the time, but i have never charged extra for this, considering the amount you use to feed a cake, an entire bottle of brandy is enough to last me feeding over one christmas period so the cost is vastly spread out amongst every one so it makes little difference to just one customers price.
I usually make extra cakes around christmas time incase i do get any last minute orders, and the majority of them gets used up, but any spares i am quite happy to give as gifts or serve up for family guests
I would like to know if the recipe from the youtube link above will give me a cake that will last a year. It comes out better than some I have tried. The fruits are not presoaked. The brandy is only added after baking.
I cut my fruit into raisin iszed pieces before soaking. I let my presoaked fruit drain overnight before I mix it into the batter. I can;t tell if it sinks because the cake is so stuffed...
Any fruitcake will last a year if you keep it in a cool place in a airtight tin or container. I add three doses of brandy or rum to my fruitcakes spaced right after baking and then three weeks apart. At six months I would add another dose if I want the cake to age for a full year.
Fruitcakes covered in marzipan and fondant or royal icing need only to be kept in a cool place. They will last for 2 years.
Thank you very much.
From all the wonderful advice on here I have decided to post my questions.
I am baking our wedding cake for this Christmas, looking at all the pictures in the magazines I love how deep the cake layers all look.
My problems come in that the tins I am renting (hexagonal) come in a range of 2.5inches to 3inches deep. I have read that lots of these cakes will be made with layers inside, to get the effect of deep layers. I don't want our cake to look flat and not relatively professional having made a lot of other occasion cakes. Should I make 2 inch deep fruit cakes and then marzipan two together for each tier?
I hope you can help.
How "deep" your cakes look is a function of the diameter. Older wedding cake tins (my mother had to buy hers so I have them for reference) were 3" deep but 4"-6"-8" and therefore looked "deep".
Making two 2" deep layers with marzipan in between is a good solution for larger pans. For a professional finish, cover with flat rolled sections of marzipan on the sides after you pack all crevices in the stack.
Thanks for the help.
If I do smaller rolled sections of marzipan can I do the same with sugarpaste rolled icing as I am not using royal icing to cover the cake?