You can store home made fruit cake for years although the type you buy is not usually stored for that long, because, after all it has a sell-by date, and has additives and preservatives in it. You can, however, prolong the life of a fruit cake from a store, by simply freezing it after wrapping it in tin foil very securely.
The best sorts of fruit cake to store are the ones you make yourself that are laced with liquor, brandy, dark rum, whiskey, wine and port make good choices. When you make a fruit cake it takes at least a month to mature, or mellow, so you shouldn’t freeze one until it has been allowed to mellow for a few months.
When you make a fruit cake, you should make it three or four months before you want to eat it as this gives it time to reach its full flavour potential. If you just want to keep it for a few months, store it in an airtight tin such as an old biscuit tin, and once a month, or every six weeks. Add more liquor to the cake, by piercing it in a few places and pouring the liquor over the top of the cake and leaving it. The liquid will slowly seep into the cake and the flavour will be superb when you are ready to eat it.
If it is a top tier or a lower tier of your wedding cake that you want to store, you will need to leave any pillars or dowels in it, as the cake should not be exposed to the air. You can wrap it in several layers of greaseproof paper and then tightly wrap this with aluminum foil and store it in a tin in a cold dark place. You can also get cardboard cake boxes, and after wrapping the cake you can store it in one of these very successfully.
In your grandparents’ day, they still had pantries, which were ideal places for storing fruit cakes, and my parents actually stored their wedding cake in a cardboard box on top of their wardrobe. Seven years after their wedding it was used as the cake to celebrate my brother’s birth. It had icing and marzipan on it and that was still fine, I remember.
Another way to store a fruit cake for years is to wrap it in cheesecloth or tea towels which have been soaked in the same alcohol as was used in the cake, then tightly wrap it all in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and soak the cloth in alcohol again every few months and rewrap this.
You can also store fruit cake that has no alcohol in it, and can wrap it in greaseproof paper and keep it in a tin or cardboard cake box for a number of years. This won’t last as long as one with alcohol in it though, as the alcohol helps the preservation process.
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