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alcohol free xmas cake?

Hi all,
I want to make my own xmas cake again this year. The last time I made one I fed it with brandy to keep it moist. My other half can't have anything with alcohol in it. Can I substitute it with orange juice or similar and does this apply with other recipes? It's amazing how many do have some sort of alcohol as an ingredient.

Thanking you all in advance


  • kethry
    kethry Posts: 1,044 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I know you can use cold tea or orange juice to soak the fruit in for the initial stage, i've seen a few recipes that do it that way. I'd imagine some nice tea like earl grey might be nice, flavourwise. I don't know about actually pouring OJ/tea over it weekly, though, in the way that you do with brandy, feeding it. The reason that works is that the alcohol and sugar content keep bugs from feeding on the cake (i.e. prevents it going off). that wouldn't work with the tea or OJ. It could be that you'll have to settle for making a cake much nearer christmas so it doesn't have the time to go off.

    google has lots of recipes, although i appreciate you were looking for one that's been tried n tested. I did check both nigella and delia and couldn't see anything suitable there.

    hope someone else comes up with something, and sorry i couldn't help any further..

  • I didn't know about the time issue, so making it a bit nearer the time will work out better for me. Thanks for the reply I shall go in search of recipes>
  • PasturesNew
    PasturesNew Posts: 70,698 Forumite
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    Delia Smith suggests orange juice or apple juice.

    This is copied from her "How to Make a Christmas Cake"

    Several times before Christmas you can 'feed' your cake.
    Make small holes in the top and base of the cake with a cocktail stick or small skewer, then spoon over a few teaspoons of brandy.

    I get a number of letters from people who never touch alcohol, so let me say that freshly squeezed orange juice can be substituted for the booze in the recipe.

    I like to wrap the cake in a double layer of silicone paper, then in double foil, before storing it in an airtight container.

    Hope that helps.
  • mambury
    mambury Posts: 2,168 Forumite

    I have made some mini xmas cakes and have started feeding them to give as gifts to friends etc this year but stupidly forgot that two of these friends can;t have any alcohol at all (one with a liver condition and one a recovering alcoholic so even the flavour would not be a good idea). I've been searching and searching but can't find any reference on feeding the cake with fruit juice, I;m sure I read it somewhere here recently.

    Can anyone help? What fruit juice is best and should I do it in the same amounts as I am with my boozy cakes? Do they keep as well???

    Thanks in advance:D

    sealed pot challange #572!
    Garden fund - £0!!:D
  • Mummy_Jo
    Mummy_Jo Posts: 496 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    You don't HAVE to "feed" the cakes at all. As long as they don't dry out they should be fine. It may be that you bake the cakes for these two friends closer to the time.

    Did you soak the fruit in Brandy (or other alcohol) before cooking too?
  • I've replaced the brandy / rum used for soaking the fruit with fruit juice and then didn't feed the cake after cooking. I made it a lot nearer Christmas if I remember correctly.
  • sooty&sweep
    sooty&sweep Posts: 1,316 Forumite

    My mum makes a rich fruit cake which she never feeds and its still great.
    As she points out if you have a slice of boozy christmas cake plus an alcholic drink they could easily be over the limit without realising it. People don't expect to get sozzled on cake !

  • Nargleblast
    Nargleblast Posts: 10,762 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Debt-free and Proud!
    You can also soak fruit in tea before putting in a fruit cake.
    One life - your life - live it!
  • troll35
    troll35 Posts: 712 Forumite
    if you have a slice of boozy christmas cake plus an alcholic drink they could easily be over the limit without realising it.

    I'm sure I have read somewhere that by the time you get to christmas the alcohol used to feed a christmas cake has evaporated leaving only the flavour behind....unless you're feeding it right up until Christmas eve that is;)

    As others have said as long as the cake is kept in a decent container it shouldn't need feeding, however saying that you have made mini cakes and so these will be more prone to drying out than much larger cakes. With the mini cakes I would be tempted to cover them with marzipan and icing a bit sooner than I would a bigger cake. That way you will seal in the moisture to a large degree. Hope that makes sense.
    I like to live in cloud cuckoo land :hello:
  • DianneB
    DianneB Posts: 884 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
    A rich christmas cake will keep well without alcohol, all that sugar!! wrap it well putting a couple of layers of greaseproof paper on before tin foil and store in a container till you are ready to marzipan and ice. Don't put tinfoil straight onto a christmas cake or pudding as the acid in the fruit reacts with the foil.
    Slightly bitter
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