This recipe is dairy free, wheat free and gluten free.
50g glace cherries, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
50g mixed candied peel (optional)
3 tablespoons brandy
50g rice flour
50g potato flour
50g soya or tapioca flour
50g coconut flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
225g dairy free butter / margarine
225g soft brown sugar
4 large eggs
50g chopped almonds
1 dessertspoon black treacle
Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Grated zest of an orange (optional)
Line and grease an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin or a 7 inch (18 cm) square tin. Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin for extra protection.
You need to start the cake the night before you want to bake the cake. Weigh out the dried fruit and mixed peel, place it in a mixing bowl and mix in the brandy. Make sure it is well mixed in. Cover the bowl with a clean tea-cloth and leave over night to absorb the brandy for 12 hours.
Next day pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C).
Begin the cake by sifting all the flours, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl lifting the sieve up high over the bowl to give the flour a good airing.
Next in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the dairy free butter / margarine and sugar until it's light, pale a fluffy.
Now beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then add them to the creamed mixture a tablespoon at a time. The mixture may curdle but don't worry.
When all the eggs have been added, fold in the flour and spices, using gentle folding movements and not beating at all. This helps keep all the air in.
Now fold in the fruit, peel (if using), chopped nuts and treacle and finally the grated lemon and orange zests (if using).
Next using a large spoon put the cake mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly using the back of the spoon.
Cover the top of the cake with a double thickness of greaseproof paper with a hole about the size of a 50 pence piece in the centre. This helps give extra protection during the long slow cooking).
Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4½ - 4¾ hours. Sometimes it can take up to ½ - ¾ hour longer but don't be tempted to look before at least 4 hours have passed.
To test if the cake is cooked, insert a cake tester or skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean then your cake is cooked if not it needs cooking for a little longer. Test in several places to make sure it is cooked all over.
When your cake is cooked cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove it from the tin onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
When it is cold 'feed' the cake. Make small holes in the top and bottom of the cake with a thin needle or cake tester, then spoon over teaspoonfuls of brandy to soak into the cake through the holes.
Now wrap the cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper, then either wrap it in two layers of tin foil or keep in an airtight tin. 'Feed' the cake (as described above) at odd intervals I 'feed' mine once a fortnight leading up to Christmas but you can 'feed' it weekly if you wish.