150ml brandy, sherry, whisky or rum, plus more for feeding
250g butter, softened
200g light soft brown sugar
175g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g flaked almonds
100g ground almonds
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Method Prep:1hr › Cook:2hr › Ready in:3hr
Put the dried fruit, lemon and orange zest and juice, alcohol, butter and sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 150 C / 130 C 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, and tie with string to secure.
Add the remaining ingredients 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.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hours.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tablespoons of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1 to 2 tablespoons alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don't feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.
For the mixed fruit, use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes and/or figs. To get a mature cake for Christmas make it towards the end of October, beginning of November.