Oven temperature: 165°C
1. Grease and line two 24 x 10cm loaf
tins and one 18cm round baking tin.
Cut two cardboard boxes so that they
will fit onto the oven shelf. Old wine or
vegetable boxes work well.
2. Place the fruit, sugar, bicarbonate of
soda, butter and 500ml water in a large
pot. Bring to the boil over a medium to
high heat. Once the mixture begins to
bubble, simmer for exactly 20 minutes.
Reduce the heat, if necessary, so that
the mixture simmers gently without
boiling over. Stir occasionally.
3. Remove the fruit mixture from the heat
after 20 minutes and set aside to cool.
While the mixture is cooling, set out the
nuts and cherries. Reserve the better-
looking ones for decorating the top of
the cake. Beat the eggs and set aside.
Sift the fl our, salt, baking powder and
4. Stir the eggs into the fruit mixture. Stir
the dry ingredients into the fruit mixture
until well combined.
5. Spoon the mixture into the tins until
they are half-full. Put a layer of nuts and
cherries into each tin, then top up with
the remaining cake mixture. If you are not
going to be icing the cakes, decorate
the tops with the glacé fruit and the extra
cherries and nuts.
6. Put the cake tins into one or two
cardboard boxes. Cover the boxes with
a layer of brown paper and place in the
middle of a preheated oven. Bake for
45 minutes. Remove the covering and
bake for a further 30 mintues. Remove the
tins from the boxes and bake for a further
30 minutes or until a skewer comes out
clean. Remove from the oven and allow to
cool slightly, then drizzle each cake with
brandy. Leave to cool completely and
wrap tightly in aluminium foil. Sprinkle
each cake with 15ml brandy every two to
three weeks until Christmas. Makes three cakes.