Preparation / Directions:
Grease a 12-inch (30 cm) tin and line it with three layers of greaseproof paper, extending about 2" above the top of the tin. Then tie a thick band of folded newspaper around the outside of the tin to protect the edge of the cake from over cooking, and have a suitable sized piece of brown paper to put over the cake if it is in danger of overbrowning. Note: cake will done when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Mix dried fruit with halved cherries and the peel with a tablespoon or two of the flour in bowl.
In another bowl, sift flour, salt and the spices.
In a third bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses, zests and vanilla.
To this mixture, add the eggs, one by one with a tablespoon full of flour with each and beat well. Fold in the fruit and remaining flour plus the brandy. Mix well.
Turn mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down with tablespoon making a slight hollow in the center. You may leave the cake over night or till ready to bake.
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F., (150 degrees C, Gas mark 2) bake cake in center of the oven for 1-1/2 hours. Reduce heat to 275 degrees F, (40 degrees C, Gas mark 1) for the remaining baking time (3 to 4 hours) or until the top of cake feels firm to the touch and toothpick comes out clean and dry. Watch cake as it bakes. Cover if it looks like it might overbrown.
Cool cooked cake in tin then remove paper and turn upside down onto a board. Make small holes into the cake with skewers and pour on some extra brandy.
When brandy is absorbed wrap cakes in double layer of greaseproof paper and then a layer of foil. Seal and store in airtight container and place in a cool place for at least a month. Cake should be finished at least two weeks prior to need so flavors will mellow. Ice with Royal Icing or Fondant Icing.