875g dried fruits (raisins, sultanas, currants)
100g chopped nuts (dates, cherries or apricots)
1/2 cup brandy (or any kind of alcohol)
250g butter, chopped
250ml water (juice or milk)
1 tsp lemon/orange rind
100g dark brown sugar
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate
1/2 tsp mixed spice
4 eggs, beaten lightly
185g self-raising flour, sifted
185g plain flour, sifted
60ml brandy - extra
100g blanched almonds
- In a large bowl, soak the dried fruits with brandy. Cover and set aside for at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Combine the fruits, butter, water, sugars, lemon rind, mixed spice and soda bicarbonate in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
- Preheat oven to 140 degrees C.
- Line the base and sides of a deep 23cm springform pan (or a 19cm square pan) with two layers of brown paper and two layers of baking paper, bringing the paper 5cm above the edge of the pan.
- Stir beaten eggs into the cooled fruit mixture, then the sifted flours. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a wet spoon.
- If desired, decorate the top of the batter with pecans and macadamias.
- Bake for about 3 hours or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. The centre of the cake should feel firm when pressed gently. To prevent over-browning, cover the top of the cake with foil after 2 hours of baking.
- Remove cake from oven. Brush the hot cake with extra brandy. Cover tightly with foil while cake is still in the pan and then wrap the pan in a tea towel. Allow to cool completely.
- Once the cake is cool, remove from the pan, leaving the baking paper on the cake. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap, then foil and store in the refrigerator.
Note: Fruit cakes taste better with age, so let it mature for at least 2 - 3 weeks before eating. During this time, keep brushing the cake with liquor regularly.