About this recipe:The trick to keeping your Christmas cake moist is to double line the tin with newspaper and then greaseproof paper so it is well insulated. The cooking temperature is low enough to do this. Also, don't be afraid to leave the mixed dried fruit to soak in brandy for a day or so before making the cake.
Drizzle the brandy over the dried fruit; set aside to soak overnight or for 1 or 2 days.
Line a 20cm (8 inch) round cake tin with double newspaper and greaseproof paper (keeping the greaseproof closest to the cake). Preheat oven to 160 C / Gas 3.
Beat the butter until lighter in colour; add orange rind and brown sugar. Continue to beat until fluffy. Stir in treacle. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Mix in half of the flour. Sieve in baking powder, mixed spice and salt; stir well.
Add soaked fruit, glace cherries and mixed peel and nuts to the remaining flour; mix well. Gradually add to cake mixture with almond essence.
Transfer into lined tin; bake for 2 hours. Lower the heat to 150 C / Gas 2 for another 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven but leave the cake in the oven for another 30 minutes.
Cool, remove lining and store in an airtight container. Feed with brandy regularly before it's time to ice the cake.