This recipe is from years ago, passed down through the generations. Follow the recipe for the cake then decorate after letting it mature for a couple of weeks. A bit late if you want it for Christmas Day (tomorrow), but you could keep it for next year or just eat it through the year.
Note: rather than using the different varieties of dried fruit as in the recipe, I instead added up all of the raisin/sultana/currant/chopped candied peel measurements and used half of this weight in packeted mixed dried fruit then a quarter of this measurement in raisins and the remaining quarter in currants. (I hope I've said that right!)
Granny's Christmas Cake
6oz glace cherries
6oz seedless raisins
2oz chopped candied peel
5 tbsp brandy
8oz butter, softened
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
8oz light muscovado sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp black treacle
8pz plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
4oz roughly chopped brazil nuts
2oz ground almonds
Rinse cherries under cold water - pat dry. Roughly chop first 5 ingredients and mix well. Spoon over brandy, leave soak 3-4 hours. Line deep 8inch round cake tin with double thickness greaseproof paper.
In large mixing bowl beat butter with lemon rind until very soft and pale. Gradually beat in sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs a little at a time. Beat in treacle until evenly blended.
Sift flour and spice together and stir 3/4 of it into creamed ingredients with chopped brazil nuts & ground almonds. Gently fold in all the fruit followed by remaining flour. Spoon into prepared cake tin. Level surface. Tie a bond of brown paper around outside of tin.
Bake at 150degrees for 3 to 3 and a half hours or until skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.
Leave cake to cool in tin for 1 hour, prick surface with fine skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of brandy to soak in. When cold wrap in greaseproof paper and overwrap with foil. Leave in cool dry place to mature (at least 2 weeks or up to 3 months). If you wish, feed with more brandy as it matures.
Remember to brush with apricot glaze before decorating with a layer of marzipan and icing.