- Step 1
Warm the booze and the orange juice on the stove. Pour in the raisins, sultanas, currants and mystery dried fruit. Add in the orange zest.
- Step 2
Warm through and then pour the lot into a plastic or ceramic bowl. Leave them to soak until they plump up and get all squishy – this should take about 30 minutes.
- Step 3
Take the butter and eggs from the fridge to bring them up to room temperature.
- Step 4
Preheat the oven to 150C.
- Step 5
Prepare your cake tin. You will need a 23cm round or a 20cm square tin. Butter all the sides of the cake tin and base. Line the tin base with baking paper. You can line the sides as well if you wish. If you are a devil-maycare risk-taker, don’t.
- Step 6
Now take a 1mlength of string and five sheets of newspaper and place the cake tin in the middle of them. Lift up the newspaper and wrap it tightly around the sides of the tin, securing it with the string. This is to insulate the cake so it cooks evenly. Trim the excessive edges off the paper so just a small collar remains above the top of the tin.
- Step 7
Find a large metal or ceramic mixing bowl. Using a mixer or whisk, cream roomtemperature butter and sugar together. Keep doing this until the result is pale, fluffy and it has increased in volume. Do this for at least five minutes. Now beat in the treacle in a thin dribble.
- Step 8
Using a fork, roughly mix the eggs together so the yolks break and the whites are well marbled. Add some of the egg – about a sixth of the mass – to the mixture. Beat it in so it’s fully incorporated. Now add some more egg. Beat it in properly. And so on. After you’ve added about two-thirds of the eggs, sprinkle and beat in about 1 tablespoon flour.
- Step 9
This should stop the creamed butter and eggs curdling. Now beat in the rest of the eggs in two batches.
- Step 10
Next, grab a sieve and shake the rest of the flour, bicarb, salt and spices into the egg mix and fold it in along with the soaked fruit, cherries and half the almonds. Stir.
- Step 11
Fill the tin with cake mix and smooth out the top. Top with the remaining almonds. Cover the top with foil and pop in the oven for 90 minutes.
- Step 12
Now, turn the temperature down to 140C, remove the foil and cook for a further 90 minutes. Depending on your oven, the cake may now be cooked.
- Step 13
Check it by piercing with a skewer. If the skewer comes out clean it is definitely cooked. If it has a lot of mix stuck to it, it needs another 30 minutes. If it has a little bit of cake on it and you like your fruit cake a little sludgy in the middle, just check the cooking closer to the edge. If it’s set near the edge (skewer comes out clean), take the cake out. Leave to cool in the tin. Remove and wrap in baking paper and a layer of foil.
- Step 14
Store in an airtight cake tin. Avoid cutting it for a week or two so the cake can mature.