Ingredients: 200g softened butter, 200g soft brown sugar, 4 eggs, 1 tbsp black treacle, 250g plain flour, 1 tsp mixed spice, 600g pre-soaked mixed dried fruit, 50g glace cherries, 1 small orange.
Soak your chosen mix of dried fruit (600g) in a few tablespoons of alcohol for at least 24 hours. Brandy is traditionally used, but sherry, madeira or whiskey can be used instead. Alternatively, if you don’t want to use alcohol, a small cup of warm black tea works well, and plumps up the fruit beautifully.
Prepare a 20cm round or 18cm square tin by lining the base and sides with parchment paper as shown. Tie a double layer of newspaper around the outside of the tin to protect the cake whilst it’s cooking.
Tip – use a paper clip to.hold paper in place whilst you tie the string. Remember to leave the butter (200g) out overnight so that it’s nice and soft ready to be creamed together tomorrow!
Step 3 – the big day!
Preheat oven Fan 150c/170c/gas mark 3 and gather your ingredients, including the pre-soaked fruit.
In your largest mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using an electric hand whisk. Mix together the eggs and treacle in a bowl and then gradually add to the butter mixture using the electric whisk. Add the flour, mixed spice and soaked fruit and fold in well using a large metal spoon. Finally stir in cherries, and orange zest and juice. Spoon into prepared tin, make a dip in the middle and cover with parchment.
Bake for 2.5 – 3 hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Check after 2 hours, as ovens vary.