Bake the cakes using the following guidelines.
Electric: Bake at 170°C for 1 1/2 hours then reduce the heat to 150°C for remaining 2 hours.
Gas: Bake at gas mark 3 for 1 1/2 hours then reduce the heat to gas mark 2 for remaining 2 hours.
Fan: Bake at 150°C for 1 1/2 hours then reduce the heat to 130°C for the remaining 2 hours.
Place the sultanas, raisins, lemon zest and juice, mixed peel and brandy into a bowl and mix well. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to soak overnight.
Grease the tin with a double layer of baking paper on the bottom and sides. Wrap the brown paper around the outside of the tin and tie with string.
In a large mixing bowl, cream Siúcra Rich Dark Brown Sugar and butter until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Sieve the flour and mixed spice together. Cut the glace cherries in half and rinse in cold water. Dry and toss in some flour.
Add one egg at a time to the creamed sugar and butter. Beat well after each addition. If the mixture looks as if it might be starting to curdle, add in a little of the measured flour and spice mix.
Next, fold in the flour and spices using a metal spoon. Very gently stir the soaked fruits, cherries and nuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Use the back of a wet spoon to even off the mixture and make a slight indentation in the centre to ensure that the surface is even once cooked.
Check that the cake is fully cooked by placing a thin metal skewer or cocktail stick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
Once the cake is cold, leave the lining paper on and cover the cake with extra baking parchment or greaseproof paper and then wrap in tinfoil. Never wrap fruit cakes directly in tinfoil as the foil interacts with the fruit.
Every week, until the cake is iced, "feed" it by taking a skewer and making holes over the surface. Pour about a tablespoon of whatever alcohol that was used in baking the cake over it. This helps to keep it moist and adds to the flavour.
Tips: If you don't want to add alcohol to your cake, you can use fruit juice. I find a mixture of orange and apple the best.Don't open the oven door until the cake is cooked. Opening the door allows cold air into the oven and your cake will sink.You can make the cake a day or two in advance before baking it. Just keep it covered in the fridge, away from strong smells.