3 cups sultanas (500g)
1 ½ cups raisins (250g), chopped
1 ½ cups currants (210g)
1 cup pitted dates (150g), chopped
2/3 cup red glace cherries (125g), halved
2 tablespoons apricot jam
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup brandy
250g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 ¾ cups plain flour
1/3 cup self-raising flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Extra halved red glace cherries, pecan halves and Christmas ribbon, to decorate
Combine fruit, jam, rind, juice and ½ cup of the brandy in an extra large bowl. Mix well. Stand, covered, overnight.
Grease a 22cm round x 7cm deep cake pan. Line base and side with three layers of baking paper, extending paper 5cm above pan edge.
Beat butter and sugar in small bowl of an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Stir into fruit mixture with chopped pecans.
Sift over combined flours and spice. Mix well. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth over top. Decorate with pecans halves and cherries.
Cook in a slow oven (150C), covering top loosely with foil about halfway through, for about 2 hours and 50 minutes, or until cooked when tested (See Tip).
Remove pan from oven. Brush top of cake with remaining brandy. While still hot, wrap cake in pan in a clean tea towel. Leave overnight to cool.
Turn out cake from pan. Transfer to a serving plate. Decorate with ribbon.
TIP! To test if cake is cooked, insert a small, sharp knife into centre of cake. If blade appears sticky from fruit, the cake is cooked, but if it there is raw cake mixture on it, return cake to oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes before testing again. To store uncut cake, turn out of pan, leaving lining paper intact. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to six months.