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Feeding Christmas Cakes and Puddings

Asked by faydaqld. Answered on 29th November 2013

Full question

Hi, I have simmered and soaked my Christmas fruit in 400ml of brandy and have run out. Instead of buying more brandy, can I feed my cake with whisky or rum (one or the other) up until Christmas? Should I feed the cake once a week? Thank you, Fay

I have made my Ultimate Christmas pudding - I have heard of people feeding their pudding with a tablespoon of the Sherry once every couple of weeks - Is this necessary? Does it enhance or detract from the pudding? Thanks, Fiona

Our answer

If you have run out of brandy then it is perfectly possible to use alternative liquors to feed the cake and you can use whichever you prefer. We would tend to err on the side of using a spirit with a higher alcohol content (such as rum or whisky) but a fortified wine with a long shelf life, such as a sweet Marsala or Madiera could also be used.

The frequency of "feeding" is also a matter of personal preference. You don't want to swamp the cake with liquid so we suggest an initial feeding once the cake has cooled in its tin and then feeding at convenient intervals after that. If you are feeding weekly then 1-2 tablespoons alcohol per feeding should be enough. It helps to poke holes in the top of the cake with a skewer before feeding it, to encourage the liquor to soak into the cake. Make sure that you re-wrap the cake tightly after each feeding. We always suggest first wrapping the cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment (parchment paper) before wrapping in foil as the fruits in the cake can react with the metals in the foil. You don't necessarily need to use fresh wrapping materials after each feeding, just make sure that the cake can be re-wrapped fairly tightly.

We have not found it necessary to feed Nigella's Christmas Pudding as steaming it means that it remains moist during cooking. Some people do like to feed their puddings and you could do this if you like but we would only use a little alcohol and again make sure that the pudding is properly re-wrapped after feeding.

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