(click on the text to highlight each stage):
- Grease and line a deep cake tin with non-stick baking paper or use a non-stick 8" cake tin.
- Wash the fruits and drain through a sieve. Tip into a bowl, and pour the brandy over the mixture. Leave to steep for up to 6 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 140°C (fan oven to 120°C, gas mark 1). Ensure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
- Melt the butter and sugar together in a saucepan, stirring until well mixed, then pour into a mixing bowl.
- Add the treacle and mix well, then add the eggs and mix again.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and spices and fold in well, then stir in the steeped fruit and remaining liquid, the glacé ginger and vanilla extract.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin and turn out when cold.
- To store wrap in a double layer of greaseproof paper and a layer of foil. Store at room temperature to mature for up to 6 weeks prior to the event. Once covered in marzipan and icing, this cake will keep for a further 6 months at room temperature. Alternatively, store in the freezer wrapped in a double layer of greaseproof paper
and double layer of foil pretty much indefinitely.