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The Secret to Perfectly Balanced Fruitcakes: Why Coating the Filling is Essential

Why You Want to Coat the Filling in Your Fruitcakes

Often associated with Christmas, the fruitcake is a dense and hearty dessert that can be enjoyed throughout the winter season. It’s a treat that warms the soul, and nothing says “winter” like a delicious slice of alcohol-soaked pie. However, there is a common frustration that many fruitcake enthusiasts face-the delicious dried fruit sinking to the bottom of the cake.
Imagine spending months preparing and waiting for your fruitcake to be ready, only to discover that the fruit has sunk to the bottom like a ton of bricks. While the cake may still taste good, it can be disheartening to see all your hard work go to waste. But fear not, there is a simple trick that can help you avoid this problem and ensure a perfectly spaced fruitcake every time.

Prepare the fruit

The first step to a well-balanced fruitcake is properly prepping your fruit. According to Baking Mad, it’s important to chop candied or dried fruit, such as glace cherries or dried apricots, into larger pieces. Using whole pieces of fruit can cause them to sink due to their weight. Take the time to chop them into smaller, more manageable pieces.

The Coating Technique

Now that you’ve chopped your fruit, it’s time to apply the coating technique. This simple but effective method involves coating the fruit with a thin layer of flour. This step may be unfamiliar to some, but it can make a significant difference in preventing the fruit from sinking. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place the chopped fruit in a bowl.
  2. Add a small amount of flour to the bowl.
  3. Toss the fruit and flour together until the fruit is evenly coated.

The flour acts as a binder, helping to hold the fruit in place during the baking process. The gluten in the flour gives the fruit structure and stability, preventing it from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
This technique is recommended by experienced bakers and has been proven to give excellent results. By taking this extra step, you can ensure that each slice of your fruitcake contains a well-distributed and visually appealing mix of fruit throughout.

Alcohol Soaked Fruit and Alternatives

What if you soaked your fruit in alcohol? Can you still use the coating method? The answer is yes! Even if you’ve soaked your fruits and nuts in alcohol or juice, you can still use the coating technique. Simply remove the fruit from the alcohol or juice bath and lightly coat with flour. This will help maintain the desired texture and prevent sinking.
If you prefer to avoid alcohol altogether, there are alternative ways to soak your fillings. Baker and Nathaniel Reid Bakery owner Nathaniel Reid suggests using Earl Grey tea as a flavorful alternative to alcohol (as mentioned in Southern Living). Soaking the fruit and nuts in Earl Grey tea can infuse them with a delicious aroma and flavor, making your fruitcake a unique and alcohol-free treat.

Bottom Line

Coating the filling in your fruitcakes can make a big difference in the final result. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can achieve a perfectly spaced fruitcake with evenly distributed fruit throughout. Say goodbye to sunken fruit and hello to a visually appealing and delicious dessert that will impress your friends and family.
So the next time you start to make a fruitcake, remember to take the extra step of dusting the fruit with flour. Your efforts will be rewarded with a fruitcake that not only tastes amazing, but also looks stunning. Celebrate the winter season with a slice of fruitcake that truly embodies the warmth and coziness of this festive season!


Why should I bother coating the fruit in my fruitcake?

Coating the fruit with flour helps prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake during baking. It also ensures a well-distributed and visually appealing mix of fruit in each slice of the fruitcake.

Can I skip the fruit chopping step and still use the glaze technique?

It’s recommended to chop larger pieces of candied or dried fruit before coating. Chopping the fruit helps to evenly distribute the weight and also prevents the fruit from sinking.

What kind of flour should I use to coat the fruit?

You can use all-purpose flour or cake flour to coat the fruit. Both types of flour contain enough gluten to provide the necessary binding and stability to prevent sinking.

Can I still use the coating technique if I’ve soaked the fruit in alcohol?

Yes, you can still use the coating technique if you’ve soaked the fruit in alcohol. After removing the fruit from the alcohol or juice bath, lightly coat the fruit with flour to maintain the desired texture and prevent sinking.

Is there an alternative to using alcohol to soak the fruit?

If you prefer to avoid alcohol, you can soak the fruit and nuts in Earl Grey tea. The tea will infuse the fillings with a unique flavor and aroma, providing an alcohol-free option for your fruitcake.

Can I use the coating technique for other types of cakes or baked goods?

While the Coating Technique is primarily used for fruitcakes, you can experiment with it in other recipes. It can help prevent heavier ingredients from settling in dense cakes or breads, providing better distribution and texture.

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