Welcome to the Cake Decorators Q&A

asked July 27th 2019

fruit cake struggles

Hi All, not sure how to keep this short but will try. I have to make a 12" round 4"deep fruit cake. I have made 2 attempts. They have failed. This is now an expensive learning curve as you can imagine. The cake just keeps burning on the outside . I have cooked on low temps , covered the top etc. For the most part the cake is fine. Its just the darn outside of it . So a few questions, as I have to try this one more time but cant afford more alcohol to soak the fruit in. Can I soak in tea, do i just drain off the liquid after soak or add it to the mix, would you soak it in the same fluid measurement as alcohol ( per Pauls recipe). I plan on feeding it with alcohol after. Another thought, can I just trim off the slightly burnt area of the cakes I have and use them, as 99% of the cake is fine and seems such a waste. Its to be the bottom tier of a very big wedding cake. Any profit I might have gained in this cake is now gone sadly. I must get it right. Any help would be ever so appreciated. I fear in the future I may have to refuse orders that have a fruit cake request , if I cant nail this. Thank you xx


Hi Tammy

How awful that you have had this problem. Itโ€™s a lot of money and ingredients to lose.

The outside can be carefully trimmed providing it is just a crust. If it goes deeper, the cake may taste of the burning. Depending on how far in you trim, the diameter of the cake will be reduced. A small amount of trimming can be compensated for by rolling the marzipan out slightly thicker than you normally do.

Fruit can be soaked in tea or any other liquid of your choice. Tea adds a lovely flavour and will compliment the feeding alcohol. Use enough liquid to generously coat the fruit. Sometimes the fruit will absorb all of it but if there is a lot at the bottom of the bowl, donโ€™t add it to the batter as it will lengthen the baking time. If the amount is approximately a tablespoon full it wonโ€™t hurt to include it to the batter.

If you decide to bake another cake, double line the inside of the tin with parchment paper and wrap the outside with several layers of dampened brown paper. Secure the paper around the tin with string. Cover the top as you have already done and bake on low.

Hopefully this will prevent the problem.


Thank you so much. It is just lightly "over done" ( burnt does sound awful doesn't it hahah ) on the outside. With that said I am giving it one more go ( 3rd) try. One of these darn cakes has got to work ๐Ÿ˜‰ . I have faith in all the help from everyone here, that I will be able to pull this off. I sort of thought a wee bit more marzipan to make up for it would be okay. Fingers crossed and thank you so so much for answering my question. xx =)


Good luck TAMMY! Let me know how it turns out, keeping everything crossed for you. ๐Ÿ˜€. XX


I'm back =) and with a smile. The last cake turned out. Thank goodness. I made it a bit smaller ( 3" ). As I have another cake that can be used and confirmed with bride about stacking two fruit cakes together to get the required height ( she was fine with that ) , we will give that a go. My only worry is that with soaking with tea, will the liquid in the fruit bake the same way it would have if I had soaked in whiskey/brandy? Years back when I tried a fruit cake, I soaked in orange juice. The cake took all day to cook lol, but everything looked lovely. Left the cake to rest for a month or so, and when it came time to cover, and stack... well it went all wrong. I put the dowel in and when I pulled it out the cake looked raw. The "oj" had slowly seeped out of the fruit and back into the cake. It was mush inside. Couldn't use it =( . You don't think that will happen do you? Gosh I hope not lol. Thank you again for being here and helping out. Means a lot that I am not alone in my hours of need. May the cake gods and goddess forever shine on you ๐Ÿ˜‰ <3



With juice or tea, just use enough liquid to plump up the fruit. A couple of tablespoons should be enough depending on how much fruit you are soaking. Alcoholic spirit is different in that it burns off during baking. Whereas other liquids will change the consistency of the batter and take longer to cook through. If too much liquid is held in the fruit, the end result can be an underdone cake which will continue to break down as it matures. I'm so sorry to hear of the 'oj' saga but it seems likely this was the cause.

You're not on your own, we all need reassurance from time to time. ๐Ÿ™‚ X