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Baileys in Christmas Cake

Asked by Deane-Mae. Answered on 22nd October 2011

Full question

I have been researching various recipes for "black cake." One version suggests the addition of Baileys to the soaking liquor for an extra special touch. I was thinking of adding it to this and also the soaked fruit for my usual Christmas cake. Would the fact that Baileys is a cream-based liqueur affect the keeping time and quality of the cake? Many thanks. Deane-Mae

Our answer

Black Cake is a very moist cake rich fruit cake - it has a higher proportion of fruit and alcohol than more conventional christmas cake. Whilst Bailey's liqueur is not traditional it would be possible to use this to soak the fruits before you mix up and bake the cake. As Baiey's contains some cream there is a possibility that the cake batter will curdle slightly as the cream element of the liqueur will react to any baking powder or bicarbonate of soda in the batter, but this should not affect the finished cake.

Bailey's has a lower alcohol content than the dark spirits normally used to "feed" a cake after baking. The manufacturers of Bailey's suggest that the liqueur will keep at room temperature for up to 2 year once opened (stored away from bright light and direct heat) so theoretically it should be fine for feeding a cake but we do wonder if the Bailey's would make the overall cake taste too sweet, as it is quite a sweet liqueur, and so a more traditional dark spirit may still be a better choice. If the cake is to be kept for more than one year then we would definitely suggest using a dark spirit - rum being the traditional choice for black cake.

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