Put the butter, dried fruit, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Heat gently for 5 minutes then leave to cool for 15 minutes.
Put the flour, crushed peppercorns, crushed cloves and ginger in a mixing bowl. Add the fruit mixture and eggs and mix to a soft dropping consistency.
Spoon into a 20 cm (8 inch) spring-form tin, greased and base-lined with oiled greaseproof paper. Spread the surface level then bake in a preheated oven, 160°C (325°F), Gas Mark 3, for 45–55 minutes until well risen, the top is slightly cracked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (If you have a fan-assisted oven, you may need to cover the top of the cake lightly with foil after 30 minutes to prevent the top from overbrowning.)
Leave to cool for 10 minutes then loosen the edges, turn out on to a wire rack and peel off the lining paper. Leave to cool completely. Store in an airtight tin for up to 3 days.