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Christmas Cake


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Are you talking about a fruitcake?

I don't know the answer to your question, I never heard of anyone judging doneness of a cake that way.

Have you made one before?

I go by the look of the cake itself as well as the toothpick test -- does a toothpick (or cake tester) inserted into the middle come out clean?

The top should look done, the cake shouldn't wiggle when you shake it, and the sides should be coming away from the edge of the pan.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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This could be very tricky and it would depend on what is in the cake.

You really don't identify the type of cake and there are numerous variations of "Christmas Cake".

If the cake has a lot of fruit in it, you must know the fruit can get very hot while the batter around it will not be fully cooked and if your temp probe happens to encounter a chunk of fruit, it will give you a false reading.

I have always looked at the edges of the cakes to see if they have pulled away from the sides of the pan slightly as that usually indicates the center of the cake is fully cooked and the batter has contracted. One may even see a small crack in the center of the top because of the way cakes bake, from the outside in, the sides bake first and cause the still-liquid center to expand upward and as the center then bakes it will shrink and fall in upon itself slightly. This occurs most often with the heavier, more fruit-filled cakes where the leavening can't overcome the weight of the inclusions.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


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I've actually started taking the internal temperature of some cakes (including quick breads and muffins), chiefly for dense batters. And especially if a particular recipe has given me problems before. I bake more bread than cakes, so this is a natural extension of taking internal temperatures for loaves.

I agree that you might have problems judging the temperature if the probe hits a dense area of fruit (or chocolate), but I've never tested this hypotheses. Except to say that I've never had an underdone cake when I've used the probe. I haven't used the probe with a fruitcake yet, but will eventually get around to trying it.

For me, using the probe is just one tool for checking doneness in addition to the usual signs: "bubbling" sound to indicate that the batter is still wet/cooking, shrinking, spring, knife/toothpick test, etc. (The probe can also be used in lieu of the knife/toothpick test if you pull it out immediately.)

I generally shoot for around 185 degrees internal temperature, I say try it and see if you are happy with that level of doneness and adjust accordingly.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Thanks to all of you who answered. I didn't realize that I had them until just now. :wub: The cake is a fruitcake, and Calipoutine is right, we call them Christmas cakes here. This one is made with coconut, dried fruit - papaya, pineapple, mangos, and raisins and glace cherries, along with slivered almonds and the usual cake ingredients. It called for a 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 hour bake but when I tested it it as at 138 so I left it in for another 1/2 hour. I cut a slice off the end and it did turn out just fine. It is now happily soaking in rum. This cake is for those who object to "peel". Tomorrow I will be making my regular Christmas cake which, along with the normal Fruitcake ingredients, includes crystalized ginger. Yummy. So, thanks agin.

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So what temperature did you finally pull the fruitcake at?

I didn't take the temperature again. I used the toothpick test. I'm making my regular Christmas cake today and will take it's temperature as well as do the toothpick thing. I have a Thermapen and it is very quick to register the temp so should not be a problem.

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