Homemade fruit cake has a different texture and flavour to shop-bought varieties. To increase the odds of people trying and enjoying your fruit cake, decorate it so that they can't resist tucking in. The best decorations for food are edible and complement the ingredients already present in the cake. In this case, candied fruit, peel and nuts make tasty decorations for your delicious fruit cake.
Place 125 ml (1/2 cup) of apricot preserve in a small saucepan. Add 125 ml (1/2 cup) of water and turn the hob to a medium heat.
Stir the preserve as it starts to melt into the water. This will keep it from sticking or burning. Stir until the preserve is completely dissolved in the water.
Pour the glaze into a bowl or cup and place a pastry brush in it.
Decorate the fruit cake
Brush the top of the cake all over with warm apricot glaze. You can do this as soon as you've made the glaze on your hob; you don't need to wait for it to cool.
Press individual pieces of the same candied fruit and nuts that you used in the cake into the top of the cake in decorative patterns. For example, put one piece of red fruit at each corner of the fruit cake. Then place one more piece of red fruit in the middle of each side. Use alternating fruit colours in between.
Apply a second coat of apricot glaze to the cake once you've finished decorating. Brush the glaze over the tops of all the candied fruit and nut pieces you've just applied.
Stick the fruit cake in the fridge, uncovered, for at least an hour. This will allow the apricot glaze to set so that it is shiny, but no longer so pliable. The apricot glaze will then act as glue to hold the candied fruit and nut decorations in place.
Wrap the chilled, decorated fruit cake tightly with cling film, or use a decorative gift bag if you are giving it as a gift.
Watch the apricot glaze closely as you make it. If you don't pay attention, it may burn. Apricot is the glaze of choice for projects like this because it doesn't have a strong flavour of its own. If it starts to burn, you'll have to make a second batch because the burnt flavour will taint the cake.
Tips and warnings
- Watch the apricot glaze closely as you make it. If you don't pay attention, it may burn. Apricot is the glaze of choice for projects like this because it doesn't have a strong flavour of its own. If it starts to burn, you'll have to make a second batch because the burnt flavour will taint the cake.