Baking

Ingredients
  • 800 g (1 lb 10 oz) mixed sultanas, raisins and currants
  • 100 g (3½ oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots, diced
  • 100 g (3½ oz) glacé cherries, rinsed and halved
  • grated rind of 2 oranges
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) brandy, plus extra to feed and decorate
  • 225 g (7½ oz) butter, softened
  • 225 g (7½ oz) soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black treacle
  • 225 g (7½ oz) rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 50 g (2 oz) blanched almonds, cut into slivers
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 50 g (2 oz) each pecan nuts, blanched almonds, glacé cherries and ready-to-eat dried apricots
Directions

Mix together the dried fruit, glacé cherries and orange rind in a bowl and pour over the brandy. Stir well, cover and leave to soak for 24 hours.

Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) round deep cake tin. Wrap and tie a double thickness of brown paper or newspaper around the outside of the tin to come 5 cm (2 inches) above the rim.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in the treacle. Sift together the flour and spice, then fold into the creamed mixture alternately with a little of the eggs until all the flour and eggs are combined. Stir in the soaked fruit, plus any juices, and the almonds.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, ensuring it is pressed right into the base. Cover with a piece of greaseproof paper with a small hole in the middle. Place in a preheated oven, 140°C (275°F), Gas Mark 1, for about 4–4½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven, remove the paper and cool in the tin.

Feed the cake by piercing holes in the surface and drizzling with brandy. When cold, remove from the tin, wrap in foil and store in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Feed once a week until required.

Place the jam and 1 tablespoon brandy in a small saucepan over a low heat until melted. Halve the cherries and apricots, then stir into the pan with the nuts, until well coated. Spoon over the cake and leave to set.

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