Feeding Your Christmas Cake with Brandy: A Step-by-Step Guide

Christmas cakes, a beloved holiday tradition, require a special process known as “feeding” to enhance their flavor and preserve their freshness. Feeding involves infusing the cake with a liquid, typically brandy or sherry, over a period of time. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of how to feed your Christmas cake with brandy, ensuring a delectable and festive treat for your holiday celebrations.

What is Feeding a Christmas Cake?

Feeding a Christmas cake is a traditional practice that involves repeatedly drizzling the cake with a liquid, such as brandy or sherry, to enhance its flavor and extend its shelf life. This process allows the alcohol to penetrate the cake, resulting in a richer, more complex taste. Additionally, the alcohol acts as a preservative, preventing the cake from spoiling and allowing it to mature gracefully over time.

Why Use Brandy?

Brandy is a popular choice for feeding Christmas cakes due to its distinctive flavor profile and high alcohol content. Brandy’s rich, fruity notes complement the spices and dried fruits typically found in Christmas cakes, creating a harmonious and indulgent taste. Moreover, brandy’s high alcohol content ensures effective preservation, preventing the growth of bacteria and mold.

Step-by-Step Feeding Instructions


  • Christmas cake
  • Brandy
  • Long skewer or toothpick


  1. Initial Feeding: Once the cake is baked and has cooled completely, remove it from the baking pan and place it on a wire rack. Using a long skewer or toothpick, poke holes all over the top and sides of the cake, creating small channels for the brandy to penetrate. Pour 30ml (2 tablespoons) of brandy evenly over the surface of the cake. Allow the cake to absorb the brandy completely before wrapping it in parchment paper or aluminum foil.

  2. Subsequent Feedings: Repeat the feeding process every two weeks until Christmas. Each time, poke additional holes in the cake and pour 30ml of brandy over the surface. Re-wrap the cake securely after each feeding.

  3. Final Rest: After the last feeding, allow the cake to rest for at least two weeks before icing or serving. This resting period allows the flavors to meld and the cake to mature, resulting in an optimal taste and texture.

Tips for Feeding Your Christmas Cake

  • Use high-quality brandy: The quality of the brandy used will directly impact the flavor of your cake. Opt for a good-quality brandy that complements the flavors of your cake.

  • Don’t overfeed the cake: Overfeeding can result in a soggy, overly boozy cake. Stick to the recommended amount of brandy and feeding frequency to achieve the desired flavor and texture.

  • Store the cake properly: Between feedings, store the cake in a cool, dark place to prevent spoilage. Wrapping the cake tightly in parchment paper or aluminum foil will help retain moisture and prevent the brandy from evaporating.

  • Enjoy the process: Feeding a Christmas cake is a labor of love that adds to the festive spirit. Take your time, savor the process, and anticipate the delicious reward that awaits you on Christmas Day.

Feeding Your Christmas Cake with Brandy – Traditional British Christmas Cake


How do you make a cake and feed it with brandy?

Take 30ml/2 tablespoons of whiskey, rum, or brandy (or apple juice/orange juice) and pour on the warm cake surface fresh from the oven. The cake is then allowed to go completely cold. It should be stripped of its baking paper, be carefully wrapped, and stored in a cold place for 2 weeks.

Is brandy good for cake?

Soaking the fruits before mixing the cake batter helps the fruits to swell up and become soft, giving a better texture to the cake. However during baking most of the alcohol in the brandy will evaporate and although the brandy adds some flavour, it will not be pronouced as it will be mixed with various spices.

How long does fruit cake with brandy last?

Like most rich fruit cakes, it benefits from a maturing period and being fed with some extra alcohol, though in the book it is suggested that the keeping time is 6 weeks and generally we suggest if keeping the cake for longer than this then the cake should be frozen as it will keep for a year.

How much brandy should you soak fruit in for Christmas cake?

Method. Combine the dried fruit and candied peel in a large bowl. Add the 4 tbsp brandy and stir in to mix well. Cover and leave overnight.

Can you feed a Christmas cake with brandy?

Feeding a Christmas cake with brandy involves adding small amounts of the spirit to the cake over a period of time, which helps the cake mature and develop a rich flavor. However, some people may be concerned about the amount of alcohol present in the cake and its effect on children and individuals with low alcohol tolerance.

Can you feed Delia’s classic Christmas cake with a tablespoon of brandy?

About to make Delia’s Classic Christmas cake. Recipe says when it’s cold feed with a couple of tablespoons of brandy before wrapping up. Just wanted to check it is tablespoons of brandy to feed or should it bet teaspoons? Many thanks. About to make Delia’s Classic Christmas cake.

Can you make a brandy soaked Christmas cake?

This basic brandy-soaked Christmas cake is simple to make but tastes brilliant. It’s popular as it’s not overly rich and dense, but makes a lovely fruit-filled cake. You’ll be willing for Christmas to arrive so you can bake it again!

How do you put brandy on a cake?

Here’s how to do it: Firstly, you’ll need to make some small holes on the top of your cake using a skewer. This will allow the brandy to seep through and soak into the cake. Then, using a small pastry brush or a spoon, generously apply the brandy onto the top of your cake and allow it to soak before repeating the process.

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