When the holiday season rolls by, there aren’t many baked goodies as popular as fruit cakes.
These dense cakes filled with fruity flavor are typically made well before it’s time to eat them. The reason is that they’re usually seasoned with a moistening ingredient such as fruit juice or alcoholic spirits. As a result, you should know how to store a fruit cake to keep it tasting delicious.
Fruit cakes can be stored in the fridge, in the freezer, or at room temperature. The optimum storage method depends on how long the cake will be stored. For short-term storage, refrigeration or storage in a kitchen cabinet is best. To store for a longer time, refrigerating at lower temperatures or freezing the cake is the way to go.
Read on to learn more about the different ways to store a fruit cake. We’ve also included some valuable tips to help you know when your fruit cake has gone bad.
After you’ve baked your fruit cake, there are many ways you can store it to maintain its texture and flavor. Your best storage option depends on how long you intend to store the cake before eating it.
Here’s how you can store fruit cake for different time periods:
Most people start ripening their fruit cake two or three weeks before the holidays. They do so by brushing the cake with an ingredient with moisture. You can use fruit juice, sugar syrup, or alcoholic ingredients such as brandy or rum.
Once you’ve done so, wrap your cake in cheesecloth. Then, cover it with a layer of airtight plastic wrap. Place the wrapped cake in the fridge, and it’ll maintain its dense texture and delicious flavor for up to six weeks.
Another short-term storage method for fruit cake is to wrap it in marzipan. Next, place the cake in an airtight container or ziplock bag and refrigerate it.
If you want to store your fruit cake for over two months, wrap it tightly in clingfilm and place it in an airtight Tupperware container. Under these conditions, a refrigerated fruit cake can last up to four months.
Some people bake a fruit cake with no intention of eating it soon. In such cases, freezing the cake is the best way to go. A fruit cake left in the freezer can maintain its texture and taste for over four months.
However, the cake needs to be stored in the correct way. You should wrap your cake in two layers. The first layer should be a plastic wrap. For the second layer, we recommend foil.
Ensure that the plastic wrap layer covers the cake fully and that the foil isn’t touching the cake. Once you’ve done so, insert your fruit cake in an airtight container and place it in the freezer.
When you’re in the mood for a slice of fruit cake, take it out of the freezer, cut a slice, and heat it briefly in the microwave. If you won’t use the entire cake at this time, place the remaining portion back in the freezer as soon as possible.
The duration you can store a fruit cake relies heavily on whether you’ve made it using alcohol.
If your cake is alcohol-free, it’s prone to spoiling quicker than if it contains rum or brandy. This lower longevity is due to the lack of alcohol to kill bacteria and slow the spoiling process. Therefore, you should only bake an alcohol-free fruit cake if you plan to use it within a month.
Sometimes the circumstances won’t allow this, and you’ll need to bake the cake further in advance. In this case, you should adopt the long-term storage strategy mentioned in the previous section.
Wrap the cake in clingfilm and foil, place it in an airtight container, and put it in the freezer. When you’re ready to indulge in your delicious fruit cake, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight on the kitchen counter.
In the case of most baked foods, the general rule is to not store them at room temperature. However, fruit cakes are one of the few exceptions.
In fact, room temperature is the ideal storage condition for a fruit cake to maintain its texture and flavor. The reason is that fruit cakes are less likely to dry out when stored in a kitchen cabinet. That being said, you should be careful how you store your fruit cake at room temperature.
The key is to store the fruit cake in a cool and dry location. If you do so, your cake will stay good for up to a month.
On the other hand, exposing your cake to direct sunlight will make it go bad more quickly. The same is true if you store it in humid conditions.
Your storage strategy for fruit cake won’t always be successful. Sometimes, your cake will spoil and be unfit for eating.
Here are some ways you can tell if your fruit cake has gone bad:
The first sign that indicates a fruit cake has gone bad is its texture. Fruit cake isn’t as soft and fluffy as other types of cake. However, it also shouldn’t be hard.
If your fruit cake is difficult to slice due to excessive hardness, then you should throw it away. Even if it hasn’t spoiled completely and is still safe to eat, indulging in it won’t be a pleasant experience.
As the name suggests, dried fruits are major components of fruit cake. If these fruits have gone bad, their flavor will turn sour. One bite of the cake will be all you need to realize it’s spoiled.
In this case, we recommend disposing of the cake immediately to avoid getting sick from eating it.
Not only does fruit taste excessively sour when it’s gone bad, but it also has an unsavory rotten smell. If your fruit cake has been stored for a long while, make sure to take a sniff before you start eating it. If it smells unpleasant, it’s time to toss it in the trash.
Mold is another indication that your fruit cake has gone bad. The common signs of mold are strange discolorations and spots on your fruit cake. You may also find white fuzz on your cake’s surface.
If you see any signs of mold on your cake, don’t hesitate to throw it out immediately. You should never risk eating a moldy fruit cake for several reasons.
First off, consuming moldy food can lead to severe illnesses, such as aspergillosis. Furthermore, eating moldy fruit cake can cause severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even food poisoning.
Additionally, eating moldy cake can be especially harmful to those with pre-existing respiratory conditions. Eating moldy food can aggravate their symptoms and lead to coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
If you want to give your fruit cake a spicy kick, use whiskey or brandy. For a more citrusy taste, go for an orange liqueur. You can also use cherry brandy or amaretto.
Even though fruit cake is seasoned with alcohol, this delicious dessert won’t get you drunk. The reason is that the alcohol evaporates quickly after you feed your fruit cake with it. However, the alcohol enhances the nuts’ and fruits’ flavor.
With the holiday season only a few months away, you’ve probably started thinking about the desserts you’ll bake for your loved ones. There’s a good chance that one of these desserts will be a fruit cake.
If you plan on baking it in advance, you should know how to store a fruit cake correctly.
There are many ways to store a fruit cake. The method you use should depend on how long you plan to store it.
If you want to store your cake for more than four months, then freezing it in an airtight container is your best bet. On the other hand, refrigeration is the best option for storing fruit cakes for two to four months. Finally, your kitchen cabinet is ideal for short-term fruit cake storage.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.