How to line your fruit cake tin like a boss

You can get away with lazy lining when it comes to sponge cakes, but when you make a rich fruit cake like a Christmas cake, you need to up your game! A properly lined tin will make your cake moist and delicious all the way to the edge.

I’m pretty proud of my fruit cakes. People often ask if I have a secret ingredient, but the truth is a little less glamourous. The real secret to perfectly moist fruit cake is long, slow cooking and a properly lined tin.

I’ve been lining cake tins since I was small enough to use scissors, because it was a job my mum hated. It is a bit tedious and always takes a bit longer than you think, but your efforts at this stage will be more than rewarded. Don’t forget, your cake is going to spend a couple of hours in the oven and a month or two maturing in the cupboard before (hopefully!) being admired and enjoyed by guests throughout the Christmas holidays. It deserves the best start in life!

Here’s my step-by-step guide to double-lining the inside of the tin and giving it an insulating newspaper collar round the outside.

1.Draw round the base of your cake tin twice on greaseproof baking paper and cut out two circles.

2. Roll the greaseproof paper round the outside of your tin to measure how much you need for the sides. Mark it with a pencil, making sure there’s a bit of an overlap, then cut off the sheet.

3. Fold the whole sheet in half (the longest way), then make a 4 cm fold along the open edge. Use scissors to snip diagonally along the bottom edge at 2 cm intervals, stopping at the fold.

4. Open up the sheet, then cut along the centre fold to create two layers for the sides of your tin.

5. Pour a little flavourless oil into a ramekin and use a pastry brush to grease the base and sides of your tin. If you don’t have a suitable brush, roll up a piece of kitchen paper and fold it in half to spread the oil.

6. Fit one of the long sheets of greaseproof paper inside, using the pastry brush to help you stick it down. The diagonal snips you made should overlap with each other on the base and where the snips finish should be in line with where the base of the tin meets the sides.

7. You need to oil in between the overlap of the paper to help it stick, then give the base and sides a thin coat of oil, all the way to the top of the collar.

8. Fit one of the paper circles into the base, smoothing it down with the brush.

9. Repeat steps 6, 7 & 8 to make a second layer. The greaseproof will stay wrapped round the cake while it’s maturing, so it was totally worth the hassle!

10. Take a double layer of newspaper and fold it in half lengthways. Make a second strip, then wrap them both round the outside of the tin. Tie tightly a couple of times round the tin (not the collar) with string.

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