Makes 22cm round cake
250g prunes, roughly chopped
200g dates, roughly chopped
1 cup sherry (Jerez-Xérès Medium Dry Amontillado)
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup plum jam
1 large orange, finely grated rind
and ½ cup juice
2 cups plain flour, sifted
½ cup self-raising flour, sifted
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
fondant, to decorate (optional)
1 Put raisins, prunes, dates, sultanas, currants and sherry in a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
2 Preheat oven to 160C. Line the base and sides of a deep 22cm round cake pan with a double layer of baking paper. Using an electric beater, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add to fruit mixture and stir with a large metal spoon until well combined. Add chocolate, jam, orange rind and juice. Stir in sifted flours and spices until well combined and mixture is smooth.
3 Spoon cake mixture evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with cold water and smooth the surface with a wet hand. Tap pan gently on the bench top to settle the mixture.
Wrap two layers of brown paper around pan and secure with string. Bake for 2½ to 3 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. (If cake is becoming too dark while cooking, loosely cover with a sheet of foil.)
4 Leave cake in pan, wrap in a thick towel and leave overnight or until completely cold. Remove from pan and wrap in several layers of plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container. Cake will keep for at least 4 months.
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