Great Brandy Alternatives for Liquor-Infused Fruitcakes
It’s happened to the best of us: you’re about to begin soaking your holiday fruitcake and realize you completely forgot to buy the brandy. No worries! You don’t need to pause everything and rush off to the store. We have some great brandy alternatives for cooking and baking.
We’ve gathered a list of the five best substitutes for brandy in fruitcake. Read on and then check your cupboards! If you have some brandy, but maybe not the full amount needed, you can mix your brandy with one of these other substitutions. Thankfully, brandy is not the only thing that makes a great liquor-infused fruitcake.
Can I Substitute Cognac for Brandy in a Fruitcake?
Cognac is probably the best substitute for brandy in fruitcake. That’s because cognac is basically fancy brandy. The naming is just a bit of technicality. You see, cognac can only legally be called ‘cognac’ if the grapes used to make it come from the Cognac region of France. It’s sort of like how champagne is technically only ‘champagne’ if it’s from the Champagne region of France.
Since brandy and cognac seem more like whiskey, you may be surprised to learn that both beverages are actually made from grapes, not grain. So, when you think ‘grapes,’ you might think ‘wine.’ And, you are sort of right! Both Cognac and brandy begin as white wine. They change into their own respective beverages when they are distilled and aged in a unique way.
The only drawback to using cognac instead of brandy when soaking your fruitcake is the price; cognac is more expensive. However, if you don’t mind that, you’ll be very pleased with the results. In short, the answer to “Can I substitute cognac for brandy in a fruitcake?” is a resounding ‘YES!’
Can I Substitute Whiskey for Brandy?
Whiskey serves as a great substitute for brandy in a fruitcake. Although whiskey comes from fermented grain mash while brandy is made from fermented grape mash, the process is so similar, that the flavor will be similar as well. Be cautious, though. Some people may find the alcohol flavor more noticeable in a whiskey-soaked fruitcake. Many don’t notice any difference while others may find the flavor preferable. When using whiskey, simply use the same amount as you would brandy, and you should be in good shape.
Can I Substitute Rum for Brandy?
Rum also works nicely as a substitute for brandy in fruitcake. Rum is traditionally sweeter in flavor, but a little extra sweetness isn’t so bad for the holidays, is it? Plus, the fruity nature of rum will compliment the flavors of your fruitcake quite well, making your cake scRUMptious!—see what we did there? *wink*
Can I Substitute Wine for Brandy?
The knee-jerk answer to this question seems like it would be ‘no.’ However, it’s actually ‘yes!’ Just as we explained above, both brandy and wine are made from grapes. Therefore, both flavor profiles are quite similar. If you soak your cake with white wine, you’ll notice your fruitcake has a brighter, lighter taste. If you soak your cake with red wine, you’ll notice a deeper flavor.
NOTE: Red wine will darken the color of your fruitcake.
Can I Substitute Non-Alcoholic Brandy Extract for Brandy?
Another great brandy alternative for cooking or, in this case, cake soaking, is brandy extract. Artificial brandy flavoring is one of the best ways to keep the liquor-infused fruitcake aroma and flavor you're accustomed to, while also keeping your cake kid-friendly!
NOTE: One part brandy extract for five parts real brandy is all that’s needed for this substitution. If your local grocery store does not carry brandy extract, check online.
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If you have one of these five substitutes handy, you’re golden! If not, there’s always a store nearby. However, if you’re a fruitcake purist, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a slice straight out of the box. Our amazing fruitcakes have been baked in Corsicana, Texas since 1896. We deliver all over the globe and each of our cakes is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. So, there’s no risk in shopping.
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