Preparation time: 1 hour + overnight soaking of fruit and drying time

Total Cooking Time: To make 18 x 25 cm oval cake, bake for 3 1/2 hours

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

Fruit Cake

500g Sultanas

375g Raisins, chopped

250g currants

250g glace cherries, quartered

250ml brandy or rum, plus 1 tablespoon to glaze

250g butter

230g soft fark brown sugar

2 tablespoons apricot jam

2 jablespoons treacle or syrup

1 tablespoon grated lemon or orange rind

4 eggs

350g plain flour

1 tablespoon each of ginger, mixed spice & cinnamon

Frosted Fruits

Selection of seasonal fruits such as white and dark cherries, red or white currants, blackcurrants, apricots or tiny plums or pears

1 egg white

Caster sugar

Icing

1 egg white

1-3 teaspoons lemon juice

125g pure icing sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Put the fruit in a bowl with the brandy and soak overnight
  2. Preheat oven to slow 150°C.
  3. Brush a deep 18 x 25cm oval cake tin with melted butter or oil
  4. Cut 2 strips of baking paper long enough to fit around the outside of the tin and wide enough to come 5cm above the top of the tin. Fold down a cuff about 2 cm deep along the length of each strip.
  5. Make diagonal cuts up to the fold line approximatly 1cm apart. fit the strips around the inside of the tin, pressing the cuts so that they sit flat around the bottom edge of the tin. Cut 2 circles of baking paper, using the tin as a guide, and use to line the base. Wrap a folded piece of newspaper around the outside of the tin and tie securely with a string.
  6. Beat the butter and sugar to just combine. Beat in the jam, tracle and rinf. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  7. Stir the fruit and combined sifted flour and spiced alternatively into the mixture
  8. Spoon into the tin and smooth the surface . Tap the tin on the bench to remove any air bubbles. Dip your hand in water and level the surface. Sit the cake tin on several layers of newspapers in the oven and bake for 3 1/2 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean. Brush with the extra tablespoon of brandy. Cover the top of the cake with paper and wrap in a tea towel. Cool completely in the tin.
  9. To make the frosted fruits: wash the fruit and make sure it is completely dry before starting. Line a tray with paper towel. Place the egg white in a shallow bowl and whisk until just foamy. Put some caster sugar on a large plate. Work with one piece of fruit at a time, except for the berries. Brush the egg white lightly over the fruit, making sure the entire piece of fruit is covered with it,  but not too heavily.
  10. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and shake off any excess, then leave on the tray to dry. The drying time will depend on the humidity. Always frost more fruit than you need, so you have a good selection to choose from when arranged.
  11. To make the icing, whisk the egg white untill just foamy. Beat in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Add the icing sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. The icing should be thick and white – add a little more lemon juice if necessary, but don’t make it too runny.
  12. Place the cake on a serving place or stand. Wrking quickly, puring the icing over the top. Using a palette knife, carfeully smooth the icing to the edge of the cake, allowing it to run slowly down the side. Leave the cake for 10 minutes to let the icing set a little. Arrange the frosted fruits on top of the cake.