Originally Posted by Cake Obsessed
Does feeding it brandy not make it go soggy?
How far in advance can I decorate a fruit cake with marzipan and sugar paste (rolled fondant)?
Jennifer353 has pretty much answered your questions
For a fruit cake to need 'feeding' it needs to be baked at least 4-5 weeks ahead of needed, and can be fed every 2-3 weeks. I skewer it with a metal skewer, and then brush brandy, (the best results have been using my husband's Courvoisier) Try not to just pour from the bottle, as it will splash unevenly and create uneven 'hot' spots. Some people actually use a hypodermic syringe, but I've never needed this.
I store my fruit cakes upside down, to help level the top, and wrapped in greaseproof paper and then foil. Then placed in a metal tin. (empty biscuit selection tins are good, and metal ones are better than a plastic tub)
You can start decorating a few weeks before needed, I like to finish covering/icing my fruit cakes at LEAST 24 hours before needed. I think a layer of marzipan gives a much smoother finish, apricot glaze/boiled jam can be brushed on to help it to stick. Clear alcohol such as gin/vodka can also be used. The marzipan can also be brushed. If it is to be placed on a foil wrapped cake board/drum, and won't be eaten for a few days/weeks it might be worth putting a thin coat of marzipan under the cake as well. Saying that, I've iced Christmas cakes at the start of December, that haven't been cut until the New Year and then taken another 2-3 weeks to eat which have been fine on a foil board.
Ideally 24 hours should be left between covering with marzipan, and then with the sugarpaste, and I have for important celebration/Christening cakes, but with Christmas cakes I tend not to bother leaving them 24 hours following the marzipan...I never have enough time in December as it is!!!
I am now trying to learn how to do sponges....I find the time pressure of icing them quite daunting,
I always cook my fruit cakes with a shallow roasting pan with an inch of water in in the bottom of the oven to stop them drying out, as they can take a few hours to cook properly. I'm not sure if this will work better than the bake easy strips as I've never used them...but surely over the course of a few hours THEY would dry out too, so maybe the pan of water is a better way as it is easy to top it up with boiling water, maybe someone can clarify this for me.
I once forgot about half of an uniced Christmas cake, and found it in its tin 18 months later just wrapped in foil, and it was fine to eat...a LITTLE bit dry, but I fed it there and then, and it was fine! If the bride definitely wants to keep it for more than year (maybe for a future child's baptism), then it will freeze, but remember to remove the icing/fondant/marzipan prior to freezing, as these don't freeze so well...my Sister inlaw didn't and she struggled to remove the frozen icing before getting it re-iced ready for my niece's baptism!
Sorry to take so long to answer you, if anything is not clear let me know Good luck!