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    Fruit cake

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    Fruit cake

    • Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus soaking overnight
    • Cooking time: 3-4 hours
    • Total time: 4hours 40minutes, plus soaking overnight

    Serves: 12

    Ingredients

    300g raisins
    250g currants
    200g sultanas
    150g mixed peel
    100g glacé cherries, halved
    75ml brandy, plus extra for feeding
    2 oranges, zest and juice
    1 lemon, zest and juice
    250g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    225g dark brown soft sugar
    1 egg yolk
    5 eggs
    300g plain flour
    ½ tsp baking powder
    2 tsp mixed spice
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    ½ tsp ground cloves
    ½ nutmeg, grated
    3 tbsp black treacle
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    100g whole almonds, roughly chopped 

    Method

    1. In a large bowl, mix all the dried fruits with the brandy, citrus zests and juices. Cover with cling film and leave in a cool place overnight or for up to 24 hours.

    2. Preheat the oven to 140˚C, gas mark 1. Grease a deep 23cm springform cake tin and line with a double layer of parchment paper, to at least 6cm above the sides of the tin. Wrap the tin in a double layer of brown parcel paper (or newspaper) 2-3cm above the sides of the tin; tie with string.

    3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and eggs, one at a time, beating well with a few tbsp of the flour between each. Mix in the remaining ingredients, then fold in the soaked fruit. Spoon into the tin and even out the surface.

    4. Bake for 2 hours until set on top, then cover with two circles of parchment paper. Check the cake every 30 minutes until it is firm to touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. This will take 3-4 hours, or longer, depending on your oven.

    5. Remove from the oven and pierce a dozen holes in the surface. Pour over 3 tbsp brandy and cool in the tin for 45 minutes. Take out of the tin, transfer to a wire rack, remove the parchment and leave to cool completely.

    6. Once cool, feed the cake again with more brandy and leave to soak in. Wrap in a double layer of parchment, cover tightly with foil and continue to feed until needed. Top with fondant icing, if liked. 

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