A traditional British cake, which originates from Wiltshire. It's rich, delicious and the perfect treat for afternoon tea. Don't even think about substituting butter or margarine for the lard. It just won't taste the same.
Mix together yeast, 1 dessertspoon sugar and lukewarm milk until well blended. Set aside for 10 minutes or until frothy.
Sieve flour, salt and mixed spice into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour yeasted milk into the well and stir with a blunt knife. Using your hands work into a smooth elastic dough, about 5-6 minutes. Cover with cling film and prove in a warm, draft-free spot for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Punch dough down and transfer to a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Dot with half the cubed lard, half of the brown sugar, half the fruit and half the mixed peel.
Starting at the short end, fold the sheet of dough into thirds, like a letter. Press the edges to seal. Rotate the packet by 90 degrees and roll out into a rectangle again. Repeat the process.
Transfer the folded dough onto a baking parchment lined baking tray. Cover with a damp towel and prove in a warm, draft-free spot for 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6.
Remove damp towel, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately place onto a plate hot and serve with lashings of butter.