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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Non-Alcoholic Feeding of Christmas Cakes

    Can I feed my Christmas cake with fresh orange juice instead of alcohol? Please could you also advise me when can I ice my cake (using fondant icicng) as I'm not sure if the icing will go hard if I ice it now? Thank you! .

    From the nigella team:

    It is possible to use orange juice instead of alcohol for feeding Christmas cakes but we would suggest as a precaution that this is only done a couple of months in advance of the cake being eaten. Alcohol obvioulsy keeps well whereas orange juice will deteriorate over time and the cake should be tightly wrapped in a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment (parchment paper) and a double layer of foil and kept in a cool place.

    If you are using rolled fondant icing (also known as sugarpaste or ready to roll icing) then it should remain soft for 3 to 4 weeks once it is on the cake. The outer surface will dry a little but it should remain soft underneath. You should roll the icing to around 5mm thick (just under 1/4 inch) as if it is too thin it will also dry out more quickly.For a smooth finish you should put a layer of marzipan on the cake first. Brush the cake with some thinned apricot jam before applying the marzipan. Let the marzipan dry for 24 hours before adding the rolled fondant as otherwise the oils from the marzipan can discolour the icing. Brush the marzipan with a little boiled water before adding the icing as it will help the icing to stick to the marzipan.

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