How to bake the best Christmas fruit cake ….and when to start yours!

I absolutely love Fruit Cake and I 100% think it is one of those cakes that is seriously underrated. Admittedly, it has had a bit of a bad reputation over the passed few years, and I do agree a dry piece of over cooked fruit cake is not the nicest. But when made well, a deliciously baked brandy soaked fruit cake, is just, well, wonderful.
Eat it cold, warm it up, have it as a dessert or a snack, you really can’t beat a fruit cake. 
Vanilla Pod Bakery Signature Fruit Cake Slice
But how do you create a delicious fruit cake

When you have had an excellent fruit cake, it often leaves you wondering, how do they do it! We have been creating our Signature Fruit Cake for the past 15 years and have converted quite a few fruit cake haters into fruit cake lovers. 

I am not going to go into all the Vanilla Pod Bakery fruit cake secrets today but I am going share three of my top tips for the perfect cake.
Vanilla Pod Bakery’s Top Three Tips For Creating the Most Delicious Fruit Cake at Home:

Tip 1: Soak your fruit in alcohol for at least 6 weeks or longer

In the studio, we 100% believe in soaking your fruit well in advance and then maturing the cake with alcohol for 2-3 weeks before decorating.

We love to soak our fruit in brandy, but you can use rum or sherry depending on your preference. If you are looking for a non alcoholic option then I would go with orange juice but leave to soak in the fridge. 

“In the studio we always have delicious bowl of dried fruit soaking in brandy, ready for when we need to whip up a bespoke fruit cake for a customer order.”

In a hurry! If you are time pressured and need a super quick way to soak your fruit. Then simply place your dried fruit in a mircowavable bowl, add your alcohol and zap in the mircowave for a few minute! The leave to soak for a day or two. 


Tip 3: Bake the fruit cake slowly

Over the years I have found that the slower the bake, when making a fruit cake the better, the outer edges stay softer and don’t overtake.

I recommend starting the bake at 150C and then turning the oven down to 140C.


Tip 3: Bake the cake with a bowl of hot water in the oven 

This is a game changer! Adding a bowl of water so that it releases steam into your oven while you fruit cake bakes, helps to lock in moisture and avoids the cake drying out. Just don’t forget to keep topping up the water bowl every so often. 



When should I start baking my fruit cake:

If you are planning on eating your fruit cake for Christmas, then I recommend getting your fruit into soak now! (Around October time)

Then for the next 6 weeks top up the fruit with a little brandy or sherry and mix well.

Aim to bake your cake during the beginning week of December. This will then leave around 2 weeks of maturing time, a week to decorate and then 1-2 weeks of fruit cake feasting!

Christmas Cake - Vanilla Pod Bakery


If you would like to pick my brains and  learn more about creating your perfect fruit cake, please book a 1-2-1 zoom session with me here.

Alternatively, if you would like us to quote for a bespoke mouth-watering fruit cake for your Christmas table please contact my team today.
Pia Cato Signature


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