Substitute for alcohol on fruitcake?
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.
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! '-)
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.