Rich & Spicy Fruitcake
250 g pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
320 g pitted dates, coarsely chopped
300 g dry figs, coarsely chopped
500 g raisins
500 g sultanas
255 g mixed peel
300 g glace cherries, halved
300 ml brandy, plus extra for brushing
250 g butter, soft and chopped
450 g dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp instant coffee
cup of plum, cherry, blackberry or other dark fruit jam
350 g plain flour
tsp baking powder
tsp ground cinnamon
tsp ground allspice
tsp ground nutmeg
tsp ground cloves
Combine dried fruit and brandy in a large bowl, stir until well combined, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Dissolve instant coffee in 1½ tbsp warm water, then stir into jam and mix well. Add to butter mixture.
Sift together flour, baking powder, cocoa and spices, then stir into butter mixture and mix until smooth. Add fruit mixture and using hands mix until well combined.
Divide mixture between 2 x 20cm square baking paper-lined cake tins with paper hanging 5cm over rims. (I line sides and bottom of tins with three layers of baking paper and two layers on top of tin to stop sides and top of cake from burning.)
Bake cakes at 150C for 2¾-3 hours or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven and brush tops of cakes with extra brandy.
Cool completely in tins, then turn out and remove baking paper and brush more brandy all over the cakes. Wrap cakes tightly in plastic wrap and then wrap in tea towels and store in a cool, dark place for up to three months.