180g / 6½ oz raisins
460g / 16 oz currants
210g / 7½ oz sultanas
210ml / 7 fl oz brandy or sherry (or orange juice)
105g / 4 oz mixed peel
105g / 4 oz glacé cherries - halved
2 oranges, zest only
300g / 10½ oz butter or Stork margarine, softened
300g / 10½ oz sugar - demerara or dark brown
300g / 10½ oz eggs, at room temperature (without shell)
1 tbsp black treacle (optional)
80g / 3 oz chopped almonds
360g / 13 oz plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
Soak the dried fruit with the liquid for a day or two, stir occasionally.
Preheat oven to 150C fan / gas 3½ and line cake tin.
Line the base and sides of the baking tin with a layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Tie a layer of corrugated cardboard or several sheets of newspaper around the outside of the tin - ensure the top of the cardboard/paper is at least an inch higher than the tin.
Cream the butter together with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add beaten eggs in a thin stream while mixing well.
Fold in the rest of the ingredients and place into the tin.
Bake for 3½ to 4 hours.
Leave to cool in the tin.
When completely cooled take out of the tin, but leave the greaseproof paper on it.
Wrap in another layer of greaseproof around it and then wrap the whole thing in kitchen foil - note: do not put the kitchen foil directly against the cake as the acids in the cake will dissolve the metal foil and give a nasty taste to the cake.
About once a week, unwrap and pour over a teaspoon of brandy, then re-wrap it. Keep it in a cool, dark place.
You can make your cake any time from October onwards.