A Taste of Christmas

ferm Christmas Cake

1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
zest and juice of 1 orange
zest and juice of 1 lemon
150ml brandy
Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
250g pack butter, softened
200g light soft brown sugar
175g plain flour
100g ground almond
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp ground cloves
100g flaked almond
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Put 1 kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat.
Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, 1⁄2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mix- ed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1⁄4 tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.
Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.