The holidays are a time for feasting and indulgence. But what do you do when the feast is over and you’re left with a mountain of leftover fruit cake?
Luckily, there are a variety of creative methods to deal with your leftover fruit cake, whether you want to store it or turn it into something unique to mix things up!
In this article, I’ll share some of my favorite ideas for what to do with leftover fruit cake. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Fresh leftover fruit cake has an advantage over older ones because they still have a higher moisture content, which makes them softer and easier to work with.
This gives you a wider variety of options when you’re trying to deal with them, so here are some of the best ways to achieve that:
One of the easiest ways to reuse fruit cakes while completely mixing up their flavor is by turning them into trifles and parfaits. Here’s what you need to do for this process:
- Start by cutting the fruit cake into small pieces. If the pieces are a bit old and dry, you can soak them in some liquor or fruit juice to moisten them.
- Prepare a clean trifle bowl or a glass dish of your choice
- Add a bottom layer of fruit cake pieces, then top them with some custard, whipping cream, nuts, and/or fruits of your choice.
- Repeat the previous step to get various layers, then garnish the parfait with frozen fruits or toasted nuts
- Chill the trifles in a fridge for 30 to 60 minutes for best results.
Bread pudding is one of the most common ideas to reuse cakes, and it works perfectly with fruit cakes as well. Here’s what you need to do:
- Preheat your oven to around 350 °F. Meanwhile, grease a properly-sized baking dish or cast-iron skillet.
- Cut the fruit cake into small pieces and add it to the greased dish.
- Mix 3/4 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract in a large bowl.
- Once thoroughly combined, pour the mixture slowly over the fruit cake pieces, then let the soaked cake pieces bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Take it out of the oven and let it cool.
- Top the pudding with some whipped cream before serving.
This recipe is ideal if you already soaked your fruit cake with rum. It’s also easy and quick, making it perfect if you’re in a hurry. Here’s how to prepare it:
- Crumble your fruit cake into small pieces inside a large bowl
- Add a small amount of rum, enough to make the crumbles stick together and hold their shape. Alternatively, you can add 2 tablespoons of melted butter to get a richer texture.
- Cover the bowl and slip it into the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes to chill.
- Take the bowl out and roll the moistened fruit cake pieces into small balls (similar to a ping pong ball).
- Dip the moistened balls in coconut flakes to give them a unique flavor and improve their aesthetics.
This one uses the same concept as the rum balls but offers a totally different flavor profile, which is ideal if you love chocolate flavor. These chocolate pops are also perfect for decorating cakes and ice cream bowls. Here’s how to make them:
- Crumble the fruit cake into small pieces
- Add a tablespoon of oil or melted butter to moisten the crumbles and make them hold together
- Shape the fruitcake crumbles into shapes (cubes or circles), then dip them in some molten chocolate (dark or milk) using a toothpick.
- Put the cubes over a dripping tray to remove the excess, then put them in the fridge or the freezer to solidify.
One of the special qualities of fruit cakes is that they’re quite dense. This makes them a perfect alternative to regular toast while preparing French toast, especially if you want something a little sweeter.
To prepare this one, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Cut your fruit cake into thin slices.
- In a shallow dish, whisk 1 cup milk and 2 eggs. You don’t have to add sugar, vanilla extract, or spices because they’re already in the fruit cake.
- Dip each slice of the fruit cake in the egg mixture, coating both sides evenly.
- Grease the skillet or a pan with butter or cooking spray, and put it over medium heat.
- Cook the slices in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
- Serve immediately with your favorite French toast toppings.
Lastly, you can also use fruit cake crumbs to make delicious cookies. Here’s how to make these tasty delights:
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F
- Meanwhile, put the leftover fruit cake into a mixer and blitz to fine crumbs.
- Beat 1 cup of molten butter with 1 to 2 cups of sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.
- Add one egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and a dash of salt, and continue mixing.
- Add the fruit cake crumbs and enough milk and flour to keep the dough together.
- Line a flat oven tray with baking paper, then add the scoops of the dough on the sheet while keeping them well-spaced.
- Bake the cooking for 10 minutes or until golden brown, then let them cool before serving.
Most cakes have a fairly short shelf life, especially if they’re unfrosted. However, this is not the case for fruit cakes.
Since they’re usually soaked in alcohol, they can stay edible for several weeks, even outside the fridge.
This is mainly because alcohol and sugar have antibacterial properties that prevent cakes from spoiling for a longer time. Here’s how long you can keep leftover fruit cakes in various settings.
You can keep fruit cakes at room temperature (around 70 °F or 21 °C) and they should stay good to eat for around four weeks.
If your room temperature is relatively low, you can keep the cake outside for even longer. In fact, a recent report by PBS shows that fruit cakes can even last longer than that if all the conditions are perfect
While fruit cakes have an impressive shelf life outside the fridge, they’ll last even longer when you refrigerate them.
Ideally, you should expect a properly chilled fruit cake (in temperature between 30 to 40 °F) to last up to four months in the fridge and between 6 to 12 months in the freezer.
As you can see, the cake may not last as long as it would in the freezer, but you still have the advantage of having the cake ready to eat on short notice!
For optimal flavor and texture preservation, remember to keep the fruit cake in an airtight container.
This marks the end of today’s guide that shows you 6 unique ways to deal with your leftover fruit cake.
If you like the flavor of fruit cakes, you can simply freeze them and enjoy them later. Don’t worry! Fruit cakes have a remarkably long shelf life, which allows them to stay edible for up to a year or longer!
However, if you’re bored of traditional fruit cake but still don’t want it to go to waste, you can simply follow some of the ideas I’ve mentioned above to turn it into something completely unique and delicious!
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.