Put the butter, sugar, chocolate, brandy,
vanilla and dried fruits into a large
saucepan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally
until everything has melted together.
Remove from the heat.
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.
Line a deep cake tin, 20cm round or
18cm square, with a double layer of
baking parchment. Wrap a few layers
of newspaper around the outside and
secure with string.
Mix the flour, almonds, cocoa and spice
together. Stir the eggs into the slightly
cooled chocolate mixture in the saucepan,
followed by the flour mixture. Scrape into
your prepared tin and bake for 1½ hrs-
1 hr 45 mins or until a skewer poked in
comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then
decorate (see 'Goes well with', right, for decoration ideas). Greaseproof-wrapped cake will
keep for 2 months in an airtight container.