Fruit Cake....overbaked... Dry & Hard

Decorating By AngesCakes Updated 29 Dec 2013 , 12:09pm by Shona-Kay

AngesCakes Posted 20 Dec 2013 , 11:05pm
post #1 of 18

I made several 5" fruitcakes a few days ago. Coming out of the oven they looked and smelled amazing, so thinking all was well I brushed them in brandy and stored them in an airtight container.  I felt very proud and thought it was well worth the effort and expense!

OMG was I wrong!!! ....... I tested one today and the inside was hard and dry as a rock and it just crumbled when cut!!!! :cry: I know I must I have overcooked them but I suspect that contributing to the problem may have been that I baked them in "paper" baking pans instead of normal tins.

Anyway, in my desperation I brushed them with a basic sugar syrup (which is probably a no no) and re-brushed with brandy.  So now they are cling wrapped and stored again and my finger are crossed.

I was hoping to decorated these before Christmas and give them away as presents but in their present state this could prove a bit embarrassing.

I would hate for these to go to waste so I if anyone out there has any ideas on how to salvage these little babies I would be sooo thankful !

 

p.s. Also any amazing "fail-safe" Fruitcake recipe you would like to share please let me know, I would love to give it a try.:smile: 

17 replies
sewsugarqueen Posted 20 Dec 2013 , 11:40pm
post #2 of 18

It could be they are too fresh... chill or freeze one and then slice it.  To save it try dousing it with alcohol every few days or what you use in place of alcohol.  Soaking in enough rum should soften it up if too dry... maybe the syrup will help as well.  Poke holes with needle several places on top of cake and add the liquids a bit to soak in.   You can try this.. hope it helps

ApplegumPam Posted 21 Dec 2013 , 3:44am
post #3 of 18

I'd say you are right in that they are probably over-cooked.

 

Unfortunately not much you can do to keep them as cake...... BUT you could toss them into a food processor and blitz them and then add enough chocolate ganache to moisten them and enable you to mould it into shape.

 

Roll them into balls.... any size you like..... cover with either some white roayl or a scalloped circle of fondant (to resemble the custard topping) couple of green holly leaves and a red berry or three...

 

You will have very delicious, and moreish pudding truffles!!

 

Chocolate ganache..... 2:1 RATIO - choc:cream

 

 

and when you are making fruitcakes again...

 

https://www.facebook.com/notes/applegum-kitchen-celebration-cakes-catering/rich-fruit-cake-suitable-for-wedding-or-christmas-cake/550255115009600

 

I have a note somewhere on Tips for successful Fruitcakes - lots of things we do that come naturally after making 100's - that perhaps you are missing

cazza1 Posted 21 Dec 2013 , 5:56am
post #4 of 18

I agree with Applegum Pam.  My grandmother (bless her soul) lost it with her fruitcakes in her last few years and used to give us all the dry rejects.  We tried lots of things to salvage them and nothing really worked.  Wish I had known about the mushing up back then.

AngesCakes Posted 21 Dec 2013 , 7:15am
post #5 of 18


Thank you Cazza and ApplegumPam for your replies.

I will first try the soaking and chilling tip and see how that goes. But I'm suspecting they may be too far gone to save as "cakes".  So if that proves to be the case, I see myself making lots of fancy Christmas Balls!!! I already have milk chocolate ganache in the fridge which I need to use too...so sounds like it was meant to be. Thank you again:)

matthewkyrankelly Posted 21 Dec 2013 , 12:00pm
post #6 of 18

A 5" fruitcake can easily be done in a pressure cooker if you have access.  It takes significantly less time and obviously remains moist.  You just need to elevate the pan out of the water and loosely cover it with foil or an inverted plate. 

 

I thoroughly cooked a 7" cake, about 2 lbs., in 35 minutes.

 

The time savings dissipates if you have  a lot to do, since you can only do one at a time.

AngesCakes Posted 21 Dec 2013 , 12:42pm
post #7 of 18

I have never heard of that method. I would imagine it would stay very moist though.... thank you for the tip, I must give it a try.

Faradaye Posted 22 Dec 2013 , 12:39am
post #8 of 18

AWhenever I've cooked fruit cakes, I line the outside of the tin with layers of paper, and sit the tin on an old magazine, then a biscuit tray. I think the theory is to protect the cake during the long, slow cooking process so it stays moist. So if you ever attempt another one, that technique might mean a less dry result.

ApplegumPam Posted 22 Dec 2013 , 12:47am
post #9 of 18

Quote:

Originally Posted by Faradaye 

Whenever I've cooked fruit cakes, I line the outside of the tin with layers of paper, and sit the tin on an old magazine, then a biscuit tray. I think the theory is to protect the cake during the long, slow cooking process so it stays moist. So if you ever attempt another one, that technique might mean a less dry result.


This is a good idea in theory - but it comes from the days where a lot different inks and simpler processing methods were used.  Magazines today would give off very toxic fumes.

 

Much better to use some home-made baking strips - which are essentially folded plain paper towels that are moistened and encased in alfoil - wrap around cake tin and secure with a bulldog clip.

 

There is a tutorial on Flickr if you are needing a visual.... Cakes & Cupcakes by Sam

Shona-Kay Posted 22 Dec 2013 , 11:24pm
post #10 of 18

 Hi everyone. if you make the fruitcake in a pressure cooker it becomes a pudding not a cake as puddings are steamed. when baking fruitcakes you should have a bath of water at the bottom of the oven....that keeps it moist. also as the cakes come out of the oven you should spoon a couple tablespoons of a mixture of equal parts rum and wine on it. and again every other day or so depending on how quickly it dries out...the alcohol keeps the cake moist and most importantly, preserves it without wasting fridge or freezer space, my family makes fruitcake by the gallons. we have never had a cake that wasnt moist.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 22 Dec 2013 , 11:55pm
post #11 of 18

Pressure cooking is not steaming.  But, we may be splitting hairs here.  A pressure cooker uses steam to build pressure AND heat.  Therefore, it cooks in significantly less time without drying the food.  The cake slices like a fruit cake and keeps like a fruit cake.  I am completely ignorant of English puddings. Is the only difference cooking style or is there a consistency difference?

 

If you are looking for a method that both cooks the fruitcake quickly and keeps it moist, this works.  I still douse it with alcohol weekly.  I have started some in June for December.  I've also used this method for a wedding cake covered in marzipan and royal icing.

 

All worked well.

ApplegumPam Posted 23 Dec 2013 , 12:49am
post #12 of 18

Maybe splitting hairs to some.... but IMO the cooking method does affect the texture  and does make the fruitcake more pudding like.

 

Some people may confuse MOIST with PUDDING-LIKE...... guess if you are happy with the results - then all is good

Traditionalists would cook a pudding in calico in simmering water - which gives that lovely pudding 'skin'.

 

Traditionalists would also probably NEVER use a pressure cooker to cook their fruitcake...... deosn't mean it can't be done

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 23 Dec 2013 , 4:04am
post #13 of 18

I do my fruitcakes in a pressure cooker, now I'm not fruit cake connoisseur, really not a big fan, but comparing them to my oh-so-proper English Aunt's cakes, they are on the mark.
I make traditional puddings every year, in the traditional way not in a PC, and the textures are definitely different to my fruit cakes.


I would be interested in having someone like 'Scary Pam' taste one of my pressure cooker ones and giving me her honest opinion! (one of the few people who's honest opinion I would trust to be honest  :P)
 

I'm so sad I didn't get to make my Christmas cakes this year! Usually Christmas eve involves black cake and plum pudding.

ApplegumPam Posted 23 Dec 2013 , 4:13am
post #14 of 18

Deal ON..... send me your recipes!  

I LOVE fruitcake

matthewkyrankelly Posted 23 Dec 2013 , 4:16am
post #15 of 18

Applegum - thanks- the whole English pudding not being close to American pudding has always intrigued me.

 

I have made fruitcakes both ways.  The pressure cooker just starts out more moist.  I should do a side-by-side with them to see what they are like after three months. 

 

Last year I did a traditional fruitcake with rum and a cherry pecan doused with amaretto.  Both had wonderful consistency around the holidays and kept quite well.

kelly kakes Posted 28 Dec 2013 , 1:25am
post #16 of 18

i think its best if u soak your cake with fruit wine it will absorb it and will get a little moist. it worked for me

AngesCakes Posted 29 Dec 2013 , 1:22am
post #17 of 18

Thank you kelly kakes and everyone who has commented.

 

My update is, I eventually managed to save my precious cakes!!  I kept dousing them in brandy over a few days and finally they did moisten, not 100% but still fairly good.  I covered them in marzipan then fondant to seal in the moisture.  I was concerned that the excess alcohol would be a bit overpowering but they tasted fine. And my recipients certainly didn't mind.:wink:  My Plan B if this didn't work, would be to make ApplegumPams cake balls, which was another great idea.

 

So all has ended well and disaster has been averted......Thank you to everyone for all your help!

Shona-Kay Posted 29 Dec 2013 , 12:09pm
post #18 of 18

A

Original message sent by matthewkyrankelly

Pressure cooking is not steaming.  But, we may be splitting hairs here.  A pressure cooker uses steam to build pressure AND heat.  Therefore, it cooks in significantly less time without drying the food.  The cake slices like a fruit cake and keeps like a fruit cake.  I am completely ignorant of English puddings. Is the only difference cooking style or is there a consistency difference?

If you are looking for a method that both cooks the fruitcake quickly and keeps it moist, this works.  I still douse it with alcohol weekly.  I have started some in June for December.  I've also used this method for a wedding cake covered in marzipan and royal icing.

All worked well.

Sorry for responding late. Just seeing the email about these posts. The same batter is placed into a baking tin covered in grease paper and placed into a pressure cooker produces a pudding as opposed to placing it in an oven to bake which comes put like a cake. I am not confusing the cake being most with the texture as both are recently most.the pressure cooker one produces a dense Christmas pudding similar in texture to potato pudding or cornmeal pudding while the oven produced a normal cake texture. As I said we make the same batter for both we just steam those that were requested as puddings and if its for home then we make the brandy sauce to serve With it. As far as my knowledge of American puddings I only see some soft baby food stuff that is imported...kinda porridge like if you ask me...but def not what I know as a pudding

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