Put the dried fruit and citrus peel in a large bowl, then pour over the rum, cherry brandy, and Angostura bitters. Cover with cling film, then set aside in a cool, dark place to soak for 24 hours. Note: We soaked our fruit for 5 days, if you have the time, it is well worth it.
The next day, heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2. Butter and line a deep 2 x 23cm diameter loose bottomed cake tins with baking paper.
Heat the 250g demerara sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat until it dissolves and turns a dark caramel colour (about 5 minutes). Take the pan off the heat and stir in the freshly boiled water – be careful as it will bubble and spit a little. Return the pan to the heat and continue to stir until you have a smooth, syrupy caramel sauce. Set aside.
Transfer the soaked fruit along with any remaining alcohol in the bowl to a food processor and pulse briefly – don’t overdo it as you want to keep a few chunks in the mixture.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, mixed spice, and lemon zest. In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs into the butter mixture, one by one, until well combined, then stir in the vanilla extract and almond essence.
Using a large metal spoon, gradually fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until fully combined. Fold in the blended fruit, followed by the caramel sauce. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin, then transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours, until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Turn it out onto a cooling rack, then brush the top of the cake generously with extra dark rum. Allow the rum to soak in and the cake to cool completely before finishing.
Note: I like to glaze the cake with 2 tablespoons molasses sugar, simmered with 4 tablespoons rum. once you have the syrup, brush all over the cake.
1 large orange
2 large lemons
6 x star anise
A little edible gold glitter for sprinkling
What you do
Using a wide head vegetable peeler, remove the zest of the orange and lemons. Take a sharp knife, and carefully shred the strips finely, like matchsticks.
In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, the juice of all the citrus (you will need 200ml – if short, top up with water). Bring to the boil, add the shredded zest, and star anise and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Cool slightly, then spoon over the top of the cake, bundling the zest and star anise together to look textured.
250g dried cherries
100g candied citrus peel
50ml good quality dark rum, plus 25ml extra to brush
500ml cherry brandy
1 tablespoon Angostura bitters
500g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
250g demerara sugar
100ml freshly boiled water
200g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
Finely grated zest 1lemon
250g caster sugar
8 medium free-range eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond essence