Facts For Fruit Cake Novices
Fruit cakes are traditionally seen as a tasty Christmastime treat. But for those inexperienced with the dessert, deciding where to start with them can seem a bit daunting. Read on for helpful hints to make your first time trying it out fun.
Two Kinds: Light and Dark
Most fruit cakes fall into two main categories: light and dark. The light variety contains light colored fruits like golden raisins, apricots, and pineapple in a blonde colored flour base with almonds.
The dark variety contains regular raisins, cherries, and dates in a dark brown colored cake base with pecans. For extra flavor, recipes for dark fruit cakes also call for molasses and brown sugar. As a result of the difference in ingredients, the dark variety has a richer flavor compared to the more delicate light one.
Fruit cakes are known for their ability to keep for long periods of time due to an extra ingredient: alcohol. The idea of alcohol in a cake may seem strange, but it’s included for a very important reason.
While not all fruit cakes contain alcohol, alcohol is a necessary component for traditional recipes. Before refrigeration was available, alcohol allowed them to last for months, even years on end. Both alcohol and refrigeration prevent microbial overgrowth and slow down spoiling.
If you don’t plan on eating your cake anytime soon, it’s a good idea to add more alcohol on occasion to prevent it from drying out. Alternatively, your fruit cake can be refrigerated. Freezing might be a good idea for other cakes, but it doesn’t work as well for these cakes. Surprisingly, they keep better in the refrigerator or the cupboard. This is likely due to the alcohol which doesn’t take well to being frozen.