I have a bride who has placed a last minute order for a wedding cake. Her wedding is in 20 days. She wants the top tier to be a fruit cake which she will keep till her first anniversary. I am not an expert in fruit cakes.
I need some help here with the trusted recipes and also techniques.
I bake the fruit cake and I know I need to "feed" it with brandy to help keep it moist and also help preserve it. How often do I feed it ?
For the covering & decorating of the cake, Do I level the cake ? or does this provide an opportunity for the cake to dry out or spoil ? Do I spritz with brandy before covering in the marizpan ? With the fondant, Is there anything special to remember ?
Does the bride preserve the cake by freezing it ?
Please advise, I am so lost.
I 'feed' my fruit cakes every 1-3 weeks...depending how far ahead I've baked them before being needed. You should be able to feed your cake at least once.
I double wrap in greaseproof paper and foil and then store upside down in a metal cake tin. Storing upside down will naturally 'level' them. If you do need to level it, be sure to cover all sides (including the bottom) with marzipan to seal it, although underneath will only require a thin layer. The marzipan also helps get a nice level area to work with.
If it is a round shape, the marzipan is cut into a strip and 'wrapped' around the sides in one strip and then a circle cut out to place on top, this will help getting you clean edges/corners. Boiled apricot jam, or clear alcohol (gin/vodka) is basted onto the cake to help the marzipan stick. I also baste the marzipan with clear alcohol before covering with sugarpaste, as I find apricot jam at this point makes sugarpaste slide all over. I like to ice/cover my fruit cakes upside down too, and fill the gap at the bottom to level the sides with extra marzipan...
...but I'm NOT a professional...it's just how I've learnt over the years.
If the bride definitely wants to keep it for a year (or more), then yes freeze it, remembering to remove the icing and wrapping well before placing in the freezer, as the icing (royal or sugarpaste/fondant) DOESN'T freeze well, and she will need an ice pick to get through any icing and into the cake! In years gone by I'm sure my Grandparents just stored theirs in a tin in a cupboard/under the bed for a year - 18 months as they won't have had a freezer!
I have stored iced fruit cakes for up to 6 months in just in a tin (away from a heat source!) and it's been fine to eat...but fruit cake IS my favourite.
Good luck x
WOW ! thanks for your response. I feel so lost. Great idea about the levelling !
Is there a recipe that you have used and trusted and know works well. There are tons of fruit cake recipes out there but I need one that will keep moist and good until it is cut.
Thanks a million for your response !
Hi Pria, I've heard good reports about the Delia recipe, but I've never tried it. I personally use the Bero recipe, with a slight variation, in that I add freshly hand squeezed lemon/orange juice, freshly grated zest, and rich dark chocolate (grated or melted it's up to you)...personally I don't eat whole nuts (it's a gastro thing), but putting ground almonds in will keep it moist ...(just think how moist/greasy marzipan is to use)..and my body can cope with ground almonds.
Personally I've never levelled a rich fruit cake, as my cakes come out pretty level...maybe one of the professionals on here will know. The only wedding cakes I've made, someone else has iced as I really don't feel competent enough to tackle someone's wedding cake...I should hate to ruin it for them.
Hi Pria, Spireite is spot on about the Delia Smith fruit cake recipe, I use this recipe all the time, I used it to make my own three tier wedding cake and also use it for my Christmas cakes.