Christmas preparations – the cake

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Before I make my Christmas cake, I like to soak the fruit in brandy for a few days. This helps to plump up the raisins, currants, sultanas, prunes, dates, apricots, figs, cherries, candied peel, cranberries and stem ginger. I normally make a 9″ or 23cm cake for our family which will last us until next Easter – over 2lb of fruit goes into this cake.

Stir up Sunday is 22 November this year, so this bowl of dried fruit will be perfectly ready to add to the rest of the ingredients and baked. I will then feed it with brandy over the next month before covering it with marzipan and icing it just before Christmas.