130g stoned prunes, roughly chopped
65g mixed candied peel, roughly chopped
65g mixed glace cherries
270ml dark rum, plus extra for feeding the cake
170g butter, softened
170g dark brown muscovado sugar
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon, mixed spice and ground nutmeg
5 medium eggs, separated
95ml black treacle
1 lemon, finely grated and juiced
1 small orange, finely grated
255g plain flour, sifted
¾ level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
ready to roll marzipan
ready to roll fondant icing
Mix together the currants, sultanas, raisins, prunes, candied peel and cherries in a large bowl. Tip into a plastic container that has a lid and mix in 300ml rum. Seal and leave for up to a week. (I added a further 75ml after 2 days). Mix regularly to ensure that all the fruit can absorb the alcohol.
Preheat the oven (fan-assisted) to 125C / gas 1/2. Lightly oil the mini cake tins or one large square 20cm cake tin. Then using the base of your cake tins as a template, cut 9 circles of greaseproof paper. Measure the depth of the tin, allow an extra 3cm in depth and cut 9 ribbons of greaseproof paper, long enough to fit inside the tin.
Make a 1cm deep fold lengthways down one side and snip into this every 1cm or so at a slight angle, so that once it is pressed around each cake tin's sides, the snipped surface will lie flat on the bottom of the tin. Lightly oil then press in the circle of greaseproof paper. Lightly oil and set aside. Otherwise line your square baking tin.
Tip the fruit into a sieve and leave to strain. Measure out the liquid and reserve 45ml.
Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually beat in the spices and egg yolks, followed by the treacle, grated citrus zest and lemon juice. Mix in half the flour, half the macerated fruit and 45ml rum.
Mix the bicarbonate of soda into the remaining flour. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the remaining flour and fruit, followed by the egg whites and the Calvados. Spoon into the cake tins. As they bake they will rise up the side of paper above the rim of the little cake tins.
Alternatively, scoop into a large cake tin, making sure there is a slight dip in the middle of the cake. Place in the oven. If baking small cakes allow 1 ½ hours, but if baking a large cake allow about 3 ½ hours, but check regularly after 2 ½ hours as all ovens vary. If at any time you are worried about the large cake top burning, cover loosely with some greaseproof paper. To see if the cake is cooked, insert a skewer into it. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in its tin.
Only remove from the tin when it is completely cold. Peel away the paper before arranging on a large clean sheet of foil. Take a fine skewer and puncture the top of the cake. Using a spoon, drizzle in about 3 tablespoons rum divided between 9 cakes. Then tightly wrap in the foil and store in an airtight tin. Continue to feed the cake with rum every day or so, until you are satisfied that it is sufficiently rich and alcoholic.
This recipe was kindly provided by Sybil Kapoor