Soaking fruits for a Christmas cake is very simple. All you need is a few dry fruits, some alcohol and some spices and you can macerate them for anywhere between 2 weeks to 3 months or even 1 year before baking your wonderful Christmas cake!
50gramscandied orange (or any other citrus fruit peel)
100gramsdried kiwi or dried mango
1/2cupfresh orange juice
1cuprum or brandy
Clean dry fruits as required - if there are any stems on raisins, remove them. If you are using prunes with the stone (seed), remove them and then weigh. Chop all big fruits into small pieces.
Add all the chopped fruit into a large bowl and pour in the orange juice and rum. Sprinkle the mixed spice. Thoroughly mix everything together.
Transfer this mixture into a a clean, dry, sterile glass or ceramic jar. Do not use any other metal container as it may react to the alcohol. Cover and keep in a cool dark place of your kitchen.
Stir the fruit once a week so that all of it is evenly coated with the alcohol and it is macerated well.
Use as required in any recipe. This recipe makes 2 cakes of 8 or 9 inch round * see note below
Some recipes may use 1kg dried fruit for a 9" pan. These cakes will be dense and tall, for example, the Irish Christmas Cake on my website. Depending on the recipe, you may add additional ingredients to this basic fruit mix recipe. Some recipes call for powdered cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon in addition to the mixed spice. Some call for the addition of jam while marinating the fruits, so you can add these as required
2. Some people add dates & figs too. I prefer not to add these because dates lend a lot of natural sweetness and figs have tiny seeds that I don't like in my cakes. But please feel free to use these two in your fruit mix by substituting them for other fruits3. I do not like to soak nuts along with the fruit as I feel that they lose their crunch. I always add chopped nuts to the batter before I bake