Christmas Cake

A Traditional Christmas cake recipe, which can be made 2-3 months in advance, although this is not necessary.

650g dried mixed fruit
75g glace cherries (chopped)
50g flaked almonds
Grated zest of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon
215g plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
175g suitable margarine
175g sugar
3 eggs
2-3tsp brandy

1) Put the dried fruit, nuts and cherries ina bowl with the brandy and stir well - cover with clingfilm and leave overnight.
2) Then grease and line a 18cm round tin with a double thickness of greaseproof paper.
3) Cream the margarine and sugar together, then add the eggs, lemon and orange zest, flour and spice and mix well.
4) Fold in the fruit and nuts and continue to mix well.
5) Spoon into the prepared tin and level off the mixture.
6) Bake in a pre-heated oven, 150 degrees for 3 hours, (if the cake starts to brown too much then turn the oven down slightly fr the last 30 minutes).
7) Test if the cake is cooked by sticking in a sharp knife or skewer - if it comes out clean then the cake is cooked.
8) Allow to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.  When cold wrap tightly in a double layer of foil or clingfilm and store in an airtight box until needed.
9) Once Christmas, decorate/ice as you require.