I try to make it in early December, so it has a few weeks to be fed with plenty of booze to make it super moist and delicious! The alcohol acts as a natural preservative too, allowing her to be enjoyed right into New Years.
340g unsalted butter
340g moist brown sugar
150g almonds (whole or chopped)
170g mixed peel
115g glace cherries
340g plain flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon treacle (or golden syrup)
5 tablespoons brandy/cognac/rum – whatever you prefer, and plenty to feed the cake in the lead up to Christmas
Firstly prepare the tin. Using a 22-25cm tin, brush the sides with melted to butter to lightly grease. Line the sides of the pan with 2 layers of baking paper that reaches 5 cm’s above the edge. Line the base with 3 layers of baking paper. Finally, wrap the outside of the pan with 3 layers of newspaper, reaching just above the baking baking paper, securing with kitchen string. This cake will be in the oven for a long period of time, and this will prevent your cake from buring during it’s long, hot siesta.
Turn on the oven to 160 degrees celcius.
In a very large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until you have a smooth, rich batter.
In a separate large bowl, mix your dry ingredients (dried fruit, nuts, flour and spices) together well.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter, with lemon rind and juice, treacle and chosen alcohol. Combine thoroughly, adding more alcohol if required to gain a dropping consistancy.
Fill tin with cake batter ensuring there are no air pockets and the top of the batter is flattened out.
Place in the oven on a mid-low rack for 2 hours, then drop the temperature to 150 degrees celcius for another 1 – 1.5 hours. Check the cake regularly in the second run. If your oven runs quite hot, you may find it’s ready in the first half hour at 150 degrees celcius. It’s cooked when it has a lovely golden colour across the top of the cake and springs back when lightly touched in the centre.
Cool cake in tin, and once cool splash extra alcohol across top of cake and leave until all absorbed. Remove and it’s ready to eat!
To store, wrap cake in 3 layers of baking paper, and double layers of foil. I feed my cake once a week from here right through until Christmas, simply opening her up, and splashing 30mls or so across the cake at a time.
We love having this cake with custard, vanilla double cream, or just on it’s own with a cup of tea.