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If possible make this cake a few weeks before Christmas and feed it regularly with your favourite alcohol, brandy,whisky, banyuls, sherry or port to build the flavour and keep it moist. In fact, the longer you leave it, the better it will taste.I made mine the first week in November and will feed it with a tablespoon or two once every two weeks until a few days before icing. If you make it closer to the day, then I suggest feeding it every few days until a few days before icing. If you do not want to use alcohol, use the same quantity of orange juice. You can eat and serve it as is or you can ice it with marzipan and fondant.
I will post an updated picture once it is all iced and decorated, a day or two before Christmas.


Serves 12


  • 1kg / 2 lbs mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
  • zest and juice 1 orange
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 150ml / 2/3 cup brandy, sherry, whisky, port or banyuls, plus extra for feeding
  • 250g / 16 tablespoons / 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 200g / 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 175g / 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 100g / 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 100g / 3 1/2 oz flaked almonds
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 150 C / 300 F
Line a 20 cm / 8″ springform cake pan with a layer of parchment paper, then wrap a layer of thick brown paper around the outside and tie with string
Cut up any large dried fruit pieces such as prunes or figs into small bits
Place all the dried fruit into a saucepan with the zests, juice and alcohol
Over medium heat, bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes
Place all in a bowl and allow to cool for 30 minutes
Add all the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture
Mix well to ensure all well blended
Pour into the prepared cake pan and level the top with a spatula
Bake for 2 hours
Remove from the oven, pierce the cake with a skewer several times and pour about 2 tablespoons alcohol over the top
Leave to cool completely in the cake pan
Once cool, remove from the pan, wrap well in clingfilm and store in a tin
Feed the cake about once every 2 weeks with 1 to 2 tablespoons of your chosen alcohol
Do not feed the cake in the 5 days before icing (if doing)
Eat as is or see below for icing

to decorate:


  • 200g/ 7oz marzipan
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
For the royal Icing
  • 3 egg whites
  • 600g/ 1lb 5oz icing sugar, sieved
  • 1½ tsp liquid glycerine – optional
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice