- 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.