A boozy Christmas classic
Makes one (very large) cake
1 kg dried mixed fruit (including sultanas and glace cherries)
2 oranges and 2 lemons, zest and juice
250g unsalted butter
250g light soft brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
1. Combine the mixed fruit (cut into small chunks if necessary) with the orange and lemon zest in a large bowl and pour over the juice and sherry. Set aside and leave to soak overnight.
2. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees/gas mark 3.
3. Butter and double line a deep cake tin with enough baking parchment to come about 2.5cm above the top of the tin. Wrap the outside of the tin with a few sheets of newspaper, securing with staples or string
4. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract.
5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture.
6. Add in the flour and mixed spice and stir well.
7. Add the fruit and mix well to ensure everything is well combined and pour into the tin. Fold excess paper down to cover the top of the cake.
8. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 160 degrees, then reduce the heat and bake for a further 2 1/2 hours, or until a knife comes out the centre clean.
7. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes or so. Place in a sealed container and once a week (or more) ‘feed’ the cake by making a few holes in the top and bottom and pouring a couple of tbsp of sherry over. Ice a week before Christmas.
This isn’t a cheap cake to make, but the yield is huge. Almonds can be added if you fancy something extra special