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Fruit Sinking To Bottom Of Cake

Asked by Hobbit13. Answered on 23rd October 2016

Full question

I made the Chocolate Fruit Cake (the boiling method) but the dried fruits sank to the bottom of the cake after baking. Why is this so?

Our answer

Nigella's Chocolate Fruit Cake (fromFEAST) is made with a mixture of prunes, raisins and currants. The fruits are simmered with butter, sugar, honey and coffee liqueur and this helps to soften and plump up the fruits quickly, rather than soaking them overnight in the liqueur. The cake batter should be fairly stiff and this helps to prevent the fruit from sinking as the cake bakes.

It is unusual for the fruits to sink in this type of cake, particularly as there is a high proportion of fruit in the cake batter. We suspect it is most likely that the fruits did not simmer for quite long enough to soften them sufficiently. This means that they would be more likely to sink, particularly the larger prunes. Also as the fruits would not have absorbed as much liquid then the cake batter would be softer and this would also make it more likely that the fruits would sink. The prunes in particular should be soft enough to break up with a spoon after the simmering and standing. When the butter has melted bring the mixture to boiling point then reduce the heat slightly and simmer (it should still be bubbling slightly). You may like to stir frequently to reduce the risk of the mixture burning on the bottom of the saucepan. It may also help to use the soft, ready-to-eat style of prunes or to roughly cut each prune into 3 or 4 pieces before using them.

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