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What you need:
425 g currants
250 g each sultanas and raisins
300 g glacé cherries, quartered, rinsed and drained
150 g ready-to-eat dried apricots, snipped into small pieces
75 g mixed candied peel, roughly chopped
4 tbsp brandy, plus extra for pouring
300 g plain flour
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
300 g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
300 g dark muscovado sugar
5 medium free-range eggs
1 tbsp black treacle
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
60 g whole unblanched almonds, roughly chopped.
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 140 C/ 275 F/gas mark 1.
Mix together the dried fruit and candied peel in a large bowl. Add the 4 tbsp brandy and stir in to mix well. Cover and leave overnight.
Put the remaining ingredients except the almonds in a large bowl. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer until well combined. Stir in the nuts and the soaked fruit with any soaking liquid.
Grease a deep 23 cm round tin or 20 cm square cake tin with butter, line with a double layer of baking paper and grease the paper (see Golden Rules). Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Level the top and cover with a disc of baking paper.
Bake for 4-5 hours until firm to the touch and a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
When the cake has cooled, remove the baking paper disc, pierce the top in several places with a skewer, then pour over a little brandy. Remove the cake from the tin but keep it in the baking paper. Wrap with more baking paper, then wrap with foil. Store in a cool place for up to 3 months to mature, occasionally unwrapping and spooning over 1-2 tbsp brandy.
Decorate the cake with glacé fruit, marzipan or ready-to-use icing. Tie a ribbon around the cake if you like.