Fruitcake is likely the most maligned dessert in the history of baked goods. Picture: Unsplash

The festive season is here and that means it is time to start baking those fruitcakes.

A fruitcake is the perfect family treat during the festive season, although they can be daunting to bake.  

The traditional fruitcake is made from dried, candied fruits and peels, with just enough alcohol-infused batter to hold its shape.

Award-winning author and baker, Grace Stevens said fruit cakes date back two thousand years and the Egyptians made fruit cakes to place in tombs for their loved ones to eat in the afterlife. She said for a cake to be considered a fruit cake, the fruit must be preserved in some way. 

Below are Stevens's tips on how you can go about baking and storing your fruitcakes these holidays. 

Fruitcake is likely the most maligned dessert in the history of baked goods. Picture: Unsplash

Soaking

Soak your fruit for at least twenty four hours hours in alcohol. The fruit should soak up the moisture and become plump. 

Use low temperature

Bake your fruit cake at a low oven temperature, between 130 and 150 degrees for up to five hours depending on the size of your cake. Too high an oven temperature will burn the sugar in the fruit. 

Lining

Line your cake tin well with at least three layers of baking paper. Wrap damp newspaper around the outside of the tin to prevent the outside of your fruit cake from drying out before the middle is cooked. 

Cooling

Allow your fruit cake to cool completely in the tin before turning it out, wrapping it in baking paper and foil.  

Preserve and prevent

Fruit cakes can be stored at room temperature and fed brandy or rum once a week to preserve and prevent drying out. Freeze fruit cakes after wrapping tightly in baking paper, foil and placed in a freezer bag.