Feeding a rich fruit cake
Q: How do you ‘feed’ a rich fruit or traditional Christmas cake?
A: If storing a rich fruit cake or traditional Christmas cake for over a month before serving, it is a good idea to ‘feed’ it during this time to help keep it moist and to add extra flavour.
To do this, each week, simply unwrap the cake and brush the surface with 1-2 tablespoons brandy (or pour it over), allowing it to soak in. You can also use other spirits or fortified wines as long as they have a reasonably high alcohol content, and they complement the flavours within your cake.
Also, piercing the cake surface with a skewer before feeding for the first time will help the cake absorb the liquor more evenly but remember it may leave small visible holes.
Once fed, rewrap the cake and store as before. If at any stage the cake doesn’t absorb the liquid it is a good sign that the crumb is well moistened, and it doesn’t need to be fed at that stage. Just leave it for at least 2 weeks before trying to feed again.
So if you have already baked your Christmas cake or intending to bake a rich fruit cake soon, you may like to try this technique and see how it can improve the texture and flavour of your cake.