The ideal fruitcake is moist, deeply spiced and full of flavour. Making fruitcake is different from making other cakes as it needs to mature for at least a month before it is ready to eat. Learning the common problems and how to avoid them will prevent you from any cooking mistakes and help you bake the perfect fruitcake.
Outside Blackening before Middle is Cooked
Because fruitcake takes a long time to cook, the chances of it blackening on the outside before the centre is fully cooked is high. To overcome this problem, double-line your cake tin with brown paper and cover the top of the cake with a double layer of baking parchment before placing in the oven.
Fruit Sinking to the Bottom
The cake needs to be sturdy enough to support the weight of the fruits and nuts. Not using enough flour in your recipe will make the dried fruit sink to the bottom. To prevent this, dust the dried fruit in flour before adding to the mixture.
Cake is Too Dry
Fruitcake should be cooked in an oven on low temperature for a few hours; cooking it too quickly on a heat too high will make it dry. Baking it at 60 degrees Cor around four hours will be sufficient. Placing a pan of hot water on the oven floor or the rack underneath the cake will also prevent it from drying out.
Not Ripened Enough
Fruitcake needs time to mature and for the flavours and spices to soak in properly. They should be prepared well ahead of time. Wrap your fruitcake in aluminium foil and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for at least one month before serving. Fruitcakes will intensify in flavour the longer you leave them to mature, and can last up to a year when stored correctly.