the fruit, zest, juice and sherry, and leave
overnight to soak. Next day, heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and
double-line a deep, 20cm round cake tin.
Wrap the outside with brown paper or
newspaper and secure with string, as this
will protect the sides from overcooking.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds
together until pale and creamy. Mix the flour,
ground almonds and mixed spice together,
then tip into the butter mix with the eggs.
Beat until combined and smooth. Stir in the
whole almonds, fruit and any leftover juices,
turn into the tin, then smooth the top and
make a dip in the middle. Bake for 1½ hrs.
Turn down the oven to 140C/fan 130C/
gas 2, then bake for 1½ hrs more until dark
on the top and a skewer inserted into the
middle comes out clean, or with a few damp
crumbs clinging to it. Once cool enough to
handle, turn onto a cooling rack and peel
away the lining paper. Cool completely.
Keep the cake well wrapped, then feed
once a fortnight with 1-2 tbsp sherry. Poke
holes into the cake with a skewer and slowly
spoon over the sherry. If you don’t have time
to do this, this cake is delicious freshly made,
and can be covered and decorated as soon
as it has completely cooled down.