Just recently Lisa gave a private AGA class in a beautiful Dorset farmhouse close to Sturminster Newton.  As well as teaching the lovely Jules how to prepare partridge from her shoot, they spent a cosy afternoon preparing a rich fruit cake so that it could bake slowly in the simmering oven.  Now Jules is religiously feeding her festive treat with her favourite tipple ready for the winter holidays.

You will need:

100g glace cherries

50g whole blanched almonds

350g sultanas

350g currants

350g raisins

50g ground almonds

zest of two oranges

5 tablespoons of brandy or whisky

225g butter

225g soft brown sugar

6 eggs

275g plain flour

1 teaspoon mixed spice

20 cm (8 inch round) cake tin greased and double lined with parchment.

For conventional cookers wrap the outside of the tin with brown paper and secure tightly


The day before.

Wash and dry the dried fruit and place in a bowl with the orange zest, juice and brandy.  Cover and leave to soak overnight.

Preheat your conventional oven to 150 C or gas mark 2 or place a grid shelf on the floor of your simmering oven.

Sift the flour and spices together.

In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Gradually add the eggs with a tablespoon of flour and mix well.

Fold in half the flour and then add the soaked fruit, cherries and peel.  Continue to mix carefully with the remaining flour.  Ensure that the mixture is evenly distributed and that there is no dry flour or fruit left.

Spoon carefully into the prepared lined tin.

Bake in a conventional oven for approximately 31/2 – 4 hours.

To cook in a traditional AGA

Bake for 6-61/2 hours or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.

To cook in an AGA Total Control

Cook the cake in baking oven at slumber setting.

Once your cake is done, leave in the tin but place on a cooling rack until it is completely cold.  Then remove all of the baking parchment and store in an airtight tin.  Remember to ‘feed’ it regularly with your favourite tipple.

We like to decorate our Christmas cake with toasted marzipan and we will share this recipe in December.