Marion commented on the last post and asked for the recipe for the cake. The original was from the BBC Food website, but here it is with my amendments:


  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (I hate cinnamon so I don't add any but pile in more mixed spice instead)
  • 200g/7oz butter
  • 200g/7oz dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp black treacle (if you're not mad on the bitter taste of treacle put in a bit less, but more marmalade)
  • 1 tbsp marmalade (the more old-fashioned marmalade with loads of zest in seems to be stickier and better for this. I put at least double the amount in)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 800g/1¾lb mixed dried fruits
  • 100g/3½oz chopped mixed peel
  • 150g/5oz glacĂ© cherries, halved
  • 100g/3½oz blanched almonds, chopped (we don't do nuts in our house so I omit these and put in extra cherries instead)
  • brandy

    Really easy to make. I mixed mine up in the mixer rather than by hand for speed, but don't forget to get everyone to have a stir and make a wish!

    Preparation method

    1. Heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2. Grease a 20cm/8inch round or an 18cm/7inch square cake tin and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment.
    2. Sieve the flour, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon into a bowl.
    3. Cream the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl and then mix in the sugar, treacle, marmalade and vanilla essence until light and fluffy.

    4. Mix the eggs a little at a time into the mixture adding a tablespoon of flour mixture with the last amount.
    5. Fold in the remaining flour mixture until well mixed and then mix in the dried fruit, mixed peel, glace cherries and the almonds.
    6. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and make a slight hollow in the centre.
    7. Bake in the oven for 3 hours and then test with a skewer. If not ready bake for up to another hour testing every 20 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
    8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
    9. Turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.
    10. Once cool, make a few holes in the cake with a skewer and pour over 3-4 tbspof brandy. Let the brandy soak into the cake.
    11. Store the cake wrapped in foil and in an airtight tin or plastic container, holes side up.
    12. OPTIONAL: For a rich and moist cake, spoon over a few tablespoons of brandy every week until you are ready to ice and decorate your cake.