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Cook's notesIf you don’t want booze in your cake, you can switch it out for orange juice (use the orange that you zest) or some Earl Grey tea instead. You can then just omit the weekly feeding ritual. Double lining the cake tin stops the cake burning before it cooks through. The best way to do it is to grease the first sheet with butter and press the second on top before cutting it all to size. Easier than trying to stick them together once in the tin!
- 160g butter
- 100ml brandy, plus more for feeding
- 400g mixed dried fruit
- 80g mixed peel
- 80g dried figs, roughly chopped
- 60g glacé cherries
- 160g soft dark sugar
- 1 orange
- 1 pear
- 80g whole almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 3 eggs
- 160g self-raising flour
Prep time: 30 min
Cooking time: 1h 30 min
Step 1Pre-heat your oven to 160⁰C/Gas 3. Use a conventional oven setting without fan if you can, as you want a slow, gentle bake. If you only have a fan setting, reduce the heat to 140⁰C/1 Gas 1. Line an 18cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment (see cook’s notes).
Step 2Put the butter, brandy, mixed fruit, mixed peel, dried figs, cherries, and sugar into a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer for 3-4 mins. Remove from the heat, stir well, and allow to cool for 30 mins or until lukewarm.
Step 3Meanwhile, finely zest the orange
Step 4When the mix is cool enough, add the orange zest and coarsely grate the pear into the pan, skin and all. Tip in the chopped almonds and mixed spice, and mix together well.
Step 5In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs for a couple of mins, until light and foamy. Tip them into the pan and stir them in.
Step 6Finally, tip in the flour. Mix everything together gently until there are no more visible pockets of flour, taking care not to overmix.
Step 7Transfer to the tin and level it off with the back of a spoon. Bake for 45 mins, then cover the top with a layer of foil to stop the top burning. Bake for a further 45 mins, or until a toothpick or knife tip comes out clean.
Step 8Leave to cool in the tin, then store in an airtight container, feeding with 2 tablespoons of brandy once a week until Christmas.