This recipe uses the traditional dark fruit cake mixture, which will keep for several months if wrapped in greaseproof or waxed paper and stored in an airtight tin.
We have not given instructions for decorating the cake as the choice of cake decorations are personal and so varied.
6 lb. raisins
1 lb. sultanas or seedless raisins
3 lb. currants
10 oz. chopped mixed candied peel
4 oz. chopped candied orange peel
4 oz. chopped candied citron peel 6 oz. red glace cherries, coarsely chopped 6 oz. yellow or green glace cherries, coarsely chopped 10 tablespoons chopped candied angelica
8 oz. flaked almonds
8 oz. chopped walnuts
4 oz. blanched hazelnuts, chopped
8 fl. oz. plus
4 tablespoons brandy
3 lb. flour
2½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 oz. plus
3 teaspoons butter, slightly softened
½ lb. soft brown sugar
½ cups light brown sugar
24 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dark treacle or molasses
2 tablespoons clear honey
6 oz. apricot jam
4 lb. Marzipan I
4 lb. Royal Icing
In a large mixing bowl, combine the raisins, sultanas or seedless raisins, cur-rants, mixed peel, orange and citron peel, cherries, angelica and nuts. Pour over the 8 fluid ounces of brandy and stir well to coat the fruit. Set the mixture aside to marinate for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain the fruit and nuts and pat them thoroughly dry on kitchen paper towels. Reserve the brandy. Wipe the mixing bowl dry and return the fruit and nuts to the bowl. Sprinkle over 3 ounces of the flour and stir well until the fruit and nuts are thoroughly coated. Set aside.
Sift the remaining flour, the salt, nut-meg, allspice and ground cloves into a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside.
In a very large mixing bowl, beat all but the 3 teaspoons of butter with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and creamy. Add the sugars and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Pour in half of the beaten eggs and beat until they are blended into the mixture. Stir in the remaining eggs, with the treacle or molasses and honey, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the reserved brandy.
Gradually fold in the flour mixture, stirring gently until a smooth batter is formed.
Add the fruit, a little at a time, and stir until no trace of flour remains on the fruit. Set the mixture aside.
Preheat the oven to cool 300CF (Gas Mark 2, 150CC).
Using the remaining butter, grease three 8- x 10-inch cake tins. Line each tin with a double layer of greaseproof or waxed paper. Cut a strip of heavy brown paper 1-inch wider than the depth of each tin and long enough to fit around each tin twice. Tie the brown paper around the outside of each tin firmly with string. Place a double thickness of brown paper on three baking sheets wide enough to hold each tin.
Spoon the batter equally into each tin, smoothing it down with the back of the spoon and making a slight hollow in the centre of the batter to prevent the cake from rising too much in the middle.
Place the cake tins on the baking sheets and place them in the oven. Bake for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, reduce the oven temper-ature to very cool 275 °F (Gas Mark 1, 140°C). Bake for 1 hour, then check to make sure that the tops of the cakes are not browning too fast – if they are, cover them with aluminium foil.
Bake the cakes for a further 2½ to 3 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and set them aside to cool for at least 3 hours. Then turn them out of their tins and carefully peel off and discard the greaseproof or waxed paper. Stand the cakes on three separate cake racks and set them aside for 2 hours or until they are completely cold.
In a small saucepan, combine the apri-cot jam with the remaining brandy, stir-ring well to mix. Set the pan over low heat and cook the mixture for 3 minutes or until it has thinned. Remove the pan from the heat and keep the glaze warm.
Place two of the cakes on a flat working surface and, using a very sharp long-bladed knife, cut 1-inch from one of the 10 -inch sides of each cake. Using a pastry brush, coat the two sides with the apricot glaze. Place the two cakes on a
10- X 14-inch silver cake board, cut ends facing each other. Gently press the two cakes together so that they are joined at the middle by the cut ends. Place the third cake on an
8- X 10-inch silver cake board and set the cakes aside.
Break off two-thirds of the marzipan and place it on a flat working surface which has been lightly dusted with a little icing sugar. Using a rolling pin, roll the marzipan out into a large square approximately j-inch thick. Using a sharp- edged knife, cut the marzipan into an oblong 14- x 10-inches. Set aside.
Using the pastry brush, brush the top and sides of the larger oblong cake gener-ously with the apricot glaze. Set the remaining glaze aside.
Place the marzipan oblong on top of the. apricot-coated cake. Set aside.
Knead and roll out the marzipan trim-mings and cut them into strips long enough and wide enough to fit around the sides of the cake. Press the joins lightly together to seal them. Repeat the process with the remaining one-third of marzipan on the second cake, brushing it first with the remaining apricot glaze.
The marzipan should be completely smooth – if necessary, lightly pass a rolling pin over the marzipan on the cakes.
To ice the cakes, spread an ½ inch layer of the icing over the top and sides of the cakes. Warm a palette knife with hot water, wipe it dry and pass it over the icing to make it completely smooth. Set the cakes aside for 6 hours or until the icing has set, and then repeat the process again and let the icing set.
Dilute a little of the remaining icing with an egg white. The consistency should be like that of custard. Thinly spread this icing over the top and sides of the cake to give it a final, smooth finish. Set the cake aside for 1 day or until the icing is completely hard.
The cakes are now ready to be further decorated and then assembled in whatever style is required.