We’ve all been there—eagerly anticipating a bite of a luscious fruit cake, only to discover it’s undercooked. Don’t reach for the bin, though!
You can transform this baked disaster into numerous delicious desserts and avoid wasting it.
In this article, I’ll discuss four ways to help you fix an undercooked fruit cake. So, keep reading for all the details!
Several signs can help you tell if a fruit cake is undercooked. For starters, it’ll appear pale and lack the delicious golden-brown crust.
Additionally, the cake will be soggy, especially in the middle. The edges will feel wet and sticky, and the cake may not come out of the pan.
In that case, the cake needs more time to bake. Make sure to preheat the oven and hit the correct baking temperature.
You should also avoid opening the oven as the cake bakes to avoid introducing cold air and lowering the temperature.
Although the cake’s color usually indicates if it’s done, this method isn’t always reliable. If your oven’s temperature is too high or doesn’t distribute the heat evenly, the cake’s crust might become brown before it’s done.
For that reason, it’s best to use the toothpick test to tell when your fruit cake is done. Here’s what you need to do:
- Allow the cake to bake according to the recipe.
- Open the oven’s door and remove the cake using mitts. Don’t turn off the heat yet, as the cake may need further baking.
- Use a toothpick or any sharp object to poke the cake in the middle.
- Remove the toothpick and check its surface. If it’s clean, the cake is done. If it comes out sticky with crumbs, continue baking the fruit cake.
No! You shouldn’t eat an undercooked fruit cake, no matter how good it tastes. As you know, fruit cake contains eggs and dairy.
Such ingredients are highly nutritious. Consequently, they’re loaded with microorganisms, which can be harmful and cause food-borne illnesses.
For instance, eggs can contain pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella. Such an organism causes troublesome symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
However, Salmonella can be a life-threatening infection for those with weak immune systems.
Since an undercooked fruit cake hasn’t reached high enough temperatures to kill pathogens, it can make you sick.
Not to mention, the soggy sponge is full of moisture, which favors the growth of mold. As a result, the cake spoils quickly.
The short answer is that it depends. You can rebake an undercooked fruit cake only if the cake is still hot.
However, if you let the fruit cake cool down for a while, rebaking it will only burn the edges; the middle part will remain gummy.
To tackle this issue, use the toothpick test once you take the cake out of the oven. In the case of an undercooked batter, follow the following steps to prevent it from burning when rebaked:
- Set the oven at a moderate temperature, around 300ºF.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil to prevent the edges from burning.
- Rebake the cake for around 15-20 minutes.
Now, if you’re late in discovering your fruit cake is undercooked, you don’t have to throw it away. Luckily, you can convert the soggy, gummy mess into many delicious desserts.
For instance, you can toast fruit cake slices or cut them into croutons. You can also use the undercooked cake as a pie base, or simply make cake pudding!
Let’s discuss what you can do with undercooked fruit cake in further detail!
One of the easiest ways to fix a soggy fruit cake center is to toast it in the oven, even if the cake has already cooled down. Here’s what to do:
- Let the fruit cake cool down so it’s easier to remove from the pan.
- Cut the cake into half-inch slices or thicker.
- Spray a baking tray with cooking oil, preferably coconut oil, as it has numerous health benefits,
- Place the slice on the tray. For a richer flavor, you can brush some melted butter on the cake’s slice. (optional step)
- Set the oven to moderate heat, around 300ºF, and toast the slices for 10-15 minutes or until they caramelize and become golden brown.
Nothing can bring undercooked cakes to life more than turning them into croutons. Those small, crispy cubes are a favorite for many people, thanks to their unique taste.
Once the cake is in the oven, all the fats and amino acids undergo the Maillard reaction. The ingredients caramelize, producing new compounds of various flavors and aromas.
Aside from their delicious taste, croutons are versatile. You can cover them with custard, fruits, and cream for a delicious trifle.
If you want a healthier dessert, layer them with Greek yogurt, honey, and nuts to make crouton parfaits.
Here’s how to make croutons from undercooked fruit cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF-400ºF.
- Cut your fruit cake into small cubes, around 3-4 inches, or whichever size you prefer.
- Melt some butter in a bowl and toss the cubes into it.
- Place parchment paper on a baking tray, toss the croutons, and throw them in the oven until golden brown.
Who doesn’t like a crunchy layer beneath sweet, juicy fruits? Instead of your good old apple crumble pie, you can use the fruit cake to make the dough.
The best part is that it doesn’t matter which fruit you use, whether mixed berries or pears, the spices used in the cake will complement them.
Here’s how to make a fruit cake crumble pie:
- In a food processor, crumble enough fruit cake to make about 2 cups. Make sure it’s toasty and crunchy.
- Add around half a stick of melted butter.
- Add around a quarter cup of sugar or any other flavorings you want (optional).
- Grease a pie pan and transfer the mixture to it.
- Press down firmly and to the sides to evenly spread the crumbs.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 350ºF and top with whichever fruit or your preferred pie fillings.
Use your favorite traditional bread pudding recipe, but this time, substitute the bread for cake.
This recipe is especially perfect if your undercooked cake went a bit stale. You can achieve the latter by cutting the cake into cubes and letting it air dry for a couple of hours.
Once the cake is ready, make the custard. You can add different flavorings, such as vanilla extract, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
After mixing all the ingredients, bake the pudding as stated in the original recipe. Make some brown sugar caramel and drizzle it on top when serving.
As you can see, you can transform your undercooked fruit cake into various delicious desserts.
From crispy croutons that add texture to parfaits to using it as a base for delectable pie, there are plenty of ways to salvage your undercooked fruit cake.
Whichever you choose to do, make sure to avoid eating an underbaked batter. The former contains eggs and dairy, which harbor pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses.
So, the next time you find yourself with an undercooked cake, explore the various options in our guide to repurpose it into mouthwatering desserts!
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.