When a traditional fruit cake is made and stored properly, it is possible for freshness to last for a long period of time. The alcohol that is included in the cake acts as a preservative; this means that the cake can actually last for a number of years.
A Properly Made Fruit Cake
The process of making a traditional fruit cake involves three important steps, which are baking, aging and storing the cake. The aging process can last anywhere from one to four months. This means that the cake must be made in advance so it can sit for some time.
Once the cake is baked and allowed to cool, it is finished with the preservative treatment. Liquor, such as rum, is used to soak a piece of cheesecloth. The cheesecloth is then wrapped around the fruit cake. Then the cake is wrapped with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and stored in a dry, cool, place to age. Every week, the cake is brushed with more liquor.
A Properly Stored Fruit Cake
Soaking and periodically brushing a traditional fruit cake with alcohol will kill bacteria to slow down the spoiling process. Therefore, a properly made fruit cake can last for years if it is stored correctly.
A fruit cake will freeze well. However, the cake will need to age for a minimum of four weeks prior to freezing. The reason for this is so the alcohol does not mellow in the freezer.
It is important to note that storing a traditional fruit cake in the freezer will not last as long as one stored in the refrigeration. A frozen fruit cake will typically only last for a year.
Finally, a fruit cake that is made without alcohol will be extremely hard and dry. These cakes can be revived with a simple alcohol treatment.