I'm trying to keep up a tradition of sending fruitcake out to families, only I know some families are more averse to alcohol in general than others.

The recipe I have uses 170 grams of brandy as well as regular basting/brushing for the aging process. Will this make the end result alcoholic or a concern for people with a difficult relationship to alcohol? Should I make a non-alcoholic alternative?

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    Sending non-alcoholic cakes would be a lovely way to maintain the family tradition while respecting peoples' needs. I got lots of search results by googling "non-alcoholic fruit cake recipe." Fruit cakes without alcohol don't seem to require an aging process, so they're probably less shelf-stable, so you probably want to look around for a recipe that says it won't go stale in the mail.
    – csk
    Dec 21, 2020 at 17:46
  • Over time, all fruitcake (regardless of whether alcohol is added or not) becomes more, not less, alcoholic.
    – Strawberry
    Dec 22, 2020 at 10:40
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    Do you put the alcohol in before or after you bake the cake (I'm not a fruitcake fan and I've never even thought about making one). If you put it in before, it's very unlikely that any/much of it remains
    – Flydog57
    Dec 22, 2020 at 19:15
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    Any temperature approaching 173 F and alcohol is gone , unless in a pressure vessel. Dec 22, 2020 at 19:44
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    A scientific example: boiling of carrot soup and bread porridge containing beer, quantified by gas chromatography. After 8 minutes of boiling, the concentration of ethanol in the porridge was reduced by 77%. The carrot soup most likely was reduced by a smaller amount, but over a much shorter period, since the beer was added directly to the boiling soup.
    – Obie 2.0
    Dec 22, 2020 at 22:56

2 Answers 2


Yes, fruitcake will retain almost all the alcohol added to it, whether added before or after cooking. Whether you should make a non-alcoholic alternative is a matter of opinion and individual circumstances and not on-topic for this site, but if I were averse to consuming alcohol and someone who knew that about me sent me an alcohol-infused fruitcake, I would judge that to be inconsiderate at best.

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    I have made dark fruitcake where I substituted a strong orange peko tea brew for the alcohol suggested. This worked reasonably well and actually got positive comments.
    – user72846
    Dec 22, 2020 at 15:22
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    People who do not use alcohol for religious reasons will often also not use products which have been made with alcohol even after the alcohol has evaporated. And those people who are alcoholics, but now dry, can get in problems with only a few drops of alcohol, so best not use alcohol at all for those who do not drink for whatever reason.
    – Willeke
    Dec 22, 2020 at 17:01
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    How do you know that this is true? We have comments asserting the opposite.
    – user37472
    Dec 22, 2020 at 22:44
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    @Ben there's an old question here that goes into quite a lot of detail, citing sources cooking.stackexchange.com/a/672/20413 .This answer agrees with the conclusion there.
    – Chris H
    Dec 23, 2020 at 17:28
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    @Ben maybe so, I didn't reread the article this time. If someone doesn't do alcohol at all, 25% might as well be all of it
    – Chris H
    Dec 25, 2020 at 14:50

No, depending on how well the package is sealed and how long it is aged. Ethanol boils at 173 F, water at 212 F ; This indicates that alcohol will evaporate faster at room temperature than water because it it closer to its boiling point . Or that the vapor pressure of ethanol is greater at room temperature than the vapor pressure of water. If the cake is well sealed in something like foil ,the ethanol will not evaporate.

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    Pure ethanol boils at 173 F; ethanol diluted with water does not. And the fact that ethanol evaporates faster than water does not mean that all (or even most of) the alcohol will evaporate. In fact, the similarity of the boiling points should suggest to you that if you wait until most of the alcohol is gone, most of the water will be gone too.
    – Sneftel
    Dec 23, 2020 at 19:31
  • The vboiling points than to look up the vaporssure of ethanol at apor pressure does not care about dilution. And, yes, if open to air most alcohol will evaporate first then the water. It was easier to give the boiling point than to look up ethanol vapor pressure at 72 F, aka room temperature. Dec 25, 2020 at 20:04

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