makes 1 cake
450 g (1 lb) 2 cups currants
450 g (1 lb) 3 cups raisins
225 g (8 oz) l cup prunes, stoned
115 g (4 oz) 2/3 cup mixed peel
400 g (14 oz) 2 1/4 cups dark soft brown sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) mixed spice
90 ml (6 tbsp) rum, plus more if needed
300 ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups sherry, plus more if needed
450 g (1 lb)/2 cups softened butter
10 eggs, beaten
450 g (1 lb) 4 cups self-raising flour
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
1. Wash the currants, raisins, prunes and mixed peel, then pat dry. Place in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a large, clean jar or bowl, add 115 g (4 oz) of the sugar, the mixed spice, rum and sherry. Mix very well and then cover with a lid and set aside for anything from 2 weeks to 3 months – the longer it is left, the better the flavour will be.
2. Stir the fruit mixture occasionally and keep covered, adding more alcohol, if you like.
3. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/ Gas 3. Grease and line a 25 cm (10 in) round cake tin with a double layer of
4. Sift the flour, and set aside. Cream together the butter and remaining sugar and beat in the eggs until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
5. Add the fruit mixture, then gradually stir in the flour and vanilla essence. Mix well, adding 15 - 30 ml (1 - 2 tbsp) sherry if the mixture is too stiff; it should just fall off the back of the spoon, but should not be too runny.
6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, cover loosely with foil and bake for about 2 1/2 hours until the cake is firm and springy. Leave to cool in the tin overnight, then sprinkle with more rurn if the cake is not to be used immediately. Wrap the cake in foil to keep it moist.
Although the dried fruits are chopped in a food processor, they can be marinated whole, if preferred. If you don't have enough time to marinate the fruit, simmer the fruit in the alcohol mixture for about 30 minutes, and leave overnight.
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