It looks really difficult but it is actually amazingly easy - it's just the ingredients list that looks daunting. Also makes an unforgettable wedding or christening cake. Allow 24hours for the fruit to soak, and 5 days for the cake to be ready to be iced.
250g chopped raisins
150g halved glace cherries
200g cups chopped mixed peel
60g chopped glace pineapple
50g chopped glace ginger
50g chopped dried apricots
Finely grated rind of a large lemon
3/4 cup (90g) chopped blanched almonds
150ml brandy or dark rum
3 1/2 cups (440g) plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/2 cups (390g) brown sugar
1 tablespoon treacle
extra 5 tablespoons brandy or rum
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Put the first 10 ingredients into the largest receptacle you own. (I use my jam pan) and douse with brandy or rum. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to stand for at least 24 hours, turning every few hours for the fruit to plump up.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.
To prepare the cake tin; grease and double-line the inside of the tin with baking paper. Allow the paper to come about 1.5 cm above the top of the tin which should be about 9cm deep.
Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl
Cream the butter, sugar and treacle until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time adding a little flour with each. Finally, lightly fold in the dry ingredients.
Tip the creamed mixture into the fruit and mix well.
Put 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 the oven and bake for 3hrs 45 mins.
When cooked, remove the cake from the oven and place on a rack and allow to go cold in the pan (overnight). Remove from pan and take off the side baking paper, leaving the bottom intact.
Pierce cake all over with a skewer and carefully spoon over 5 tablespoons brandy or dark rum.
Wrap carefully in a double layer of baking paper then in two layers of foil. The cake must be completely enclosed by both.
Two weeks before required, cover with almond paste. Allow to dry for 5 days.