Prepare this fruit cake in advance and feed it regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build the flavour and keep it moist
- 600 g mixed dried fruits use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs
- zest and juice 1 orange
- zest and juice 1 lemon
- 100 ml brandy Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
- 180 g butter softened
- 120 g light soft brown sugar
- 110 g plain flour
- 65 g ground walnuts
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 65 g flaked walnuts
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Put the dried fruit, zests and juice, alcohol, butter and sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.
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