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Substitute for alcohol on fruitcake?

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I have made fruitcake at xmas for the last 30 years. Don't laugh. It's a Food & Wine recipe, and it's delicious. I have quite a following. I brush the fruitcake with rum and brandy every three days until ready to give away. I make one without alcohol for a cousin who does not drink. It's probably dry and unappealing, but they say they like it. Can somebody recommend another liquid or substance I could brush the fruitcake with to keep it moist and flavorful? I thought maybe of apple juice, but might make it too apple-y. The main ingredient in the cake for moisture is applesauce with honey and molasses. Thank you.

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  1. Apple juice will add a lot of sugar.

    Why can't you just bake a fresh one for your cousin?

    1. The great advantage of booze is that it retards any sort of bacterial growth. However, honey is pretty bacteria resistant, unless contaminated, so I would go with a mild honey. Maybe keep that particular cake refrigerated between brushings just to be on the safe side. I would not dilute the honey in fear of making the cake soggy, but I would make sure I brush all areas; top, sides, bottom, and the hole in the middle, if there is one. Good luck! And just curious but has the cousin ever tasted the real thing? You could have a convert! '-)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Caroline1

        Im not sure these cakes need the alcohol so much as a moisturizer as as a preservative as Caroline1 says. The ones I make are buttery and rich. If the cake is eaten promptly (or frozen) the lack of alcohol may not matter so much.

        you could consider making a sugar syrup, which would both moisten and glaze the cake- maybe flavored with some citrus or other flavoring appropriate to the cake or you could melt some appropriate or complementary jam, like say apricot. for glaze. We usually use a mix of brandy and cointreau/grand marnier on our fruit cake. I could see mixing a little of this to melted jam for glazing.