We made extra fruitcakes for the Christmas season so we could still enjoy them in January - happy new year to all of us!
For some of you, this is when you are still 'aging' your fruitcake (ie adding liquor regularly) and I know that a few of our regular customers do this to our fruitcakes. The usual practice is to brush with rum or brandy before wrapping in cheesecloth, although one of our customers says she soaks the whole thing in sherry.
I'm usually too impatient to eat our fruitcake to bother with this process, but this year I'm going to try it! Instead of using rum or brandy, I'm going to use Krupnik spiced liqueur by Wayward Distillation House, and recommend you do the same. It's so delicious even on its own, and it's what we used in our recipe, so you'll just be adding more of that nice warm spice! All of Wayward's spirits are distilled from honey and have a very smooth finish, so if you find brandy or rum a bit harsh, try the Krupnik!
This article from Huffington Post will tell you a bit more about the process. The author talks about the difference between proper fruitcake and the weird stuff you get in the grocery store made with that colourful glaceed 'fruit' (surprise, it's sometimes not fruit - it could be flavoured turnip!).
Here is an excerpt of her instructions:
When the cakes are cool, I cut a piece of tightly woven unbleached cheesecloth, dip it in brandy, and wrap each cake, adding a layer of foil and then a layer of plastic. The fruitcakes gestate side-by-side in the extra refrigerator in my garage. I unwrap each cake, resoak the cheesecloth and rewrap at two-week intervals until the cakes are soaked through. Fruitcakes that have been soaked in brandy or rum will keep for years in a cool place, and only improve with age.
I saw a couple articles suggesting using a spray bottle to apply the alcohol each week, which might be an easier way to do it. I hope you give this a try, or a least pick up one of our fruitcakes this week to enjoy as it is! If you do plan to age it with liquor, you'll probably want to peel off the marzipan first, by the way.
PS - Last year I accidentally 'aged' one of our fruitcakes by forgetting about it in the back of my fridge... Since I'd just left it in the cellophane wrapping, and had not gone through the proper storage/boozing steps it was rather on the dry side. But it wasn't Too bad and actually still tasted good! A truly amazing food.