• 225g (8 oz) currants
  • 225g (8 oz) lexia raisins
  • 225g (8 oz) sultanas
  • 175g (6 oz) glacé cherries, halved
  • 175g (6 oz) whole mixed candied peel, chopped small
  • 50g (2 oz) candied pineapple pieces
  • 50g (2 oz) stem ginger, chopped
  • 100g (4 oz) dried apricots, chopped
  • 150ml (1/4 pint) brandy or dark rum
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 100g (4 oz) blanched almonds, chopped
  • 200g (7 oz) plain flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 dessertspoon ground mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 350g (12 oz) butter
  • 350g (12 oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black treacle
  • 6 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons brandy or dark rum


  • STEP 1
    Place all of the dried fruits into a large mixing bowl or pot (I use my jam pan), and mix in brandy or dark rum. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to stand for at least 24 hours, stirring every few hours so the fruit plumps up.
  • STEP 2
    Mix together the zest, almonds, flour and spices in a bowl.
  • STEP 3
    In a separate bowl, cream the butter, sugar and treacle until light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour with each. Finally, gently fold in the dry ingredients.
  • STEP 4
    Tip the creamed mixture into the fruit. You can be polite and use a wooden spoon if you like but I find it easier to role my sleeves up and use my hands. If you have a spare 10 year old with clean hands, you will find they love this bit! Make sure the fruit is evenly distributed.
  • STEP 5
    repare a 23-25cm (9-10 in) cake tin: Double-line the inside of the tin with baking parchment, greasing it first. Allow the parchment to come about 1cm (1/2 in) above the top of the tin which should be in the region of 8cm (3 1/2 in) deep. Cut a double circle of parchment with a diameter approximately 5cm (2 in) bigger than the tin. Fold and cut a hole in the centre about 4cm (1 1/2 in) across.
  • STEP 6
    Pour the mixture into the lined tin. Even the top and make a slight indentation in the centre with the back of a spoon. Put into the middle of a preheated oven (150 C / Gas mark 2) and carefully balance the circular disk of parchment on top of the tin - this stops the top of the cake over-browning and drying out. It's easier not to use the fan in a fan oven as it tends to blow the covering parchment off.
  • STEP 7
    Bake for 3 hours and 45 minutes. Place on a rack and allow to go cold in the tin (overnight). Remove from tin and take off the side parchment, leaving the bottom intact. Pierce all over with a skewer and carefully spoon over 5 tablespoons brandy or dark rum. Wrap carefully in a double layer of parchment then in two layers of foil. The cake must be completely enclosed by both.
  • STEP 8
    Age in a cool, dark place in an airtight tin for at least 4 months. 'Feed' monthly with four additional tablespoons of brandy or rum. Rewrap carefully each time.
  • STEP 9
    Two weeks before required, cover with marzipan. Allow to dry for 5 days. Ice with fondant or royal icing, and decorate as desired.

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