4oz glace cherries (washed, dried, chopped and tossed in a tablespoon of flour)
4oz sweet dried cranberries
12oz californian raisins
4oz whole blanched almonds (roughly chopped)
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
finely grated rind of 1 orange
5 large eggs
5tblsp irish whiskey or brandy or dark rum
10oz unsalted butter
10oz demerara sugar
9" square tin or 10" round tin
Place all the dried fruit (except the cherries) lemon zest, orange zest, and peel into a bowl, add the whiskey, and stir to mix well. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to soak for minimum of twelve hours and up to 24 hours.
Prepare your tin as follows:
To line a square tin -
Put the tin in the centre of the baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Measure the length and width and double the depth the paper should extend 1-2" higher than tin.
Make four lines from the papers edge up to the corner, and cut along the lines. Grease the tin and place the paper inside, folding and over lapping the corners to fit.
Using the tin as a guide, and using a pencil, mark out the size of the base. Cut out two double bases and place inside the tin and grease each one as you put it in.
To line a round tin -
Cut a strip of baking parchment or greaseproof paper longer and higher than the outside of the tin.
Fold it in half and fold back about an inch along its length.
Using a pair of scissors, snip the paper up to the fold every half inch.
Grease the tin and press the paper onto the sides. Using the tin as a guide, and using a pencil, mark out the size of the base.
Cut out two double bases and place inside the tin and grease each one as you put it in.
Sieve the flour and spices into a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Break the eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork.
Add a tablespoon of the beaten eggs at a time to the creamed sugar and butter.
Beat well after each addition. If the mixture looks as if it might be starting to curdle,
Add in a little of the measured flour and spice mix.
When all the eggs have been added, fold in the flour and spices using a metal spoon.
Add the treacle to the soaked fruits and stir well.
Very gently stir the soaked fruits, the cherries and the nuts.
Using a metal spoon carefully spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.
Use the back of a wet spoon to even off the mixture and make a slight indentation in the centre to ensure that the surface is even when cooked.
Cover the outside of the tin with a double band of brown paper and tie with string. Once the cake mixture is in the tin, the top can be covered with a clean tea towel and it can be left until the next day before cooking.
Put a double layer of baking parchment on top of the cake and put into the preheated oven.
Temperatures and cooking times:
Bake at 170°C for 1.5 hours then reduce the heat to 150°C for remaining 2 hours
Bake at gas mark 3 for 1.5 hours then reduce the heat to gas mark 2 for remaining 2 hours
This is a guideline only as it is best to refer to the manufacturers instructions. Some manufacturers suggest that Christmas Cakes should be placed in a cold oven, while other manufacturers say that the oven should be preheated. So these are the suggested temperatures. Bake at 150°C for 1.5 hours then reduce the heat to 130°C for the remaining 2 hours. Again check the cooking instructions that you got with your oven.