The Real Reason Your Fruitcake Is Dry And Hard

Technically, there should be nothing stopping us from enjoying a slice of fruitcake. This holiday cake is boozy, filled with nuts and fruits, and wonderfully fragrant with the scents of the season which include citrus and cinnamon. But of all the holiday treats on offer at this time of year, consuming a slice of fruitcake is also the one you're most likely to struggle with, because as legendary TV host Johnny Carson put it (via Forbes), "The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other."

To make a fruitcake is to infuse the pastry not just with brandy of your choice, you also need to give it time and a lot of TLC because fruitcakes aren't just made, they need to be nurtured. What's Cooking America recommends that the fruits and nuts in the fruitcake be infused in liquor for two or three days, baked with a pan of water at the foot of the oven, and at low temperatures of no higher than 325 degrees F. And when they are done, they need to be cooled and wrapped with cheesecloth and then soaked with the booze you used in your recipe.

Veena Azmanov also suggests avoiding aluminum foil and storing the cake in sealed bags. Skip a step, and it won't take much for a fruitcake to go from moist and luscious to rock solid and dry. 

Don't worry, dried-out fruitcake slices can be revived

If you want your fruitcake to mature with grace and dignity, Mental Floss suggests giving it a bit of love and some booze every few days. "Feeding" the fruitcake this way will help it retain its moisture. But if your fruitcake has already made the journey from delicious to dry, it isn't completely beyond redemption.

Denise Santoro Lincoln at KQED recommends poking holes into your dry fruitcake, laying that in a pan, and pouring 1/2 cup of brandy, cognac, rum, or Grand Marnier into it. Heat the cake-and-alcohol mixture until it simmers, then you should cover the pan for a minute, lift the lid, and spoon the alcohol over the cake. Repeat until the alcohol is completely absorbed, then take the cake off the heat, leave it to cool, and enjoy.

Now, dried-out fruitcake can be a thing of the past.