Take a mixture of dried fruit ~ sultanas, currants and raisins ~ and soak them overnight in brandy.
Add ground almonds.
In a second bowl, cream butter and sugar and add eggs. Stir in spices, lemon and orange rinds, treacle and essences of vanilla and almonds. By this stage, the wonderful aromas of Christmas are filling the air and I am engrossed in the creative process, which is almost meditative: filled with ritual.
Next add flour and stir well.
The stirring is more of a challenge once the fruit is added to the cake mixture. Careful stirring is required to ensure that all parts of the recipe are incorporated well.
Place the mixture in a prepared cake tin. This has been lined with paper and further protected with paper around the outside of the tin to protect from burning.
Bake in a slow oven and allow to cool completely before wrapping and storing until Christmas.