I decided to try one right away, and the recipe I picked came from my sweet friend Lindsay at Rocking Chair Reflections. She actually gave me two recipes, and I've made both since then, so I'll share them here for you and if you're going to make one, you can pick whichever appeals to you the most.
Fruit Cake #1
1 and a half pounds of mixed fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants etc)
I lb dates (chopped and stoned)
half lb cherries
half lb walnuts
half lb butter (I use marge)
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 heaped cups flour -plain
1 teasp bicarb (baking soda)
2 teasp mixed spice
half teasp ground ginger
quarter teasp cinnamon
quarter teasp nutmeg
quarter teasp cloves (ground)
Cook all the fruit except the cherries and nuts with butter and sugar and 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. In very large pot (I mix the whole cake in this pot)
Allow to cool.
Add cherries and nuts.
Dissolve bicarb in one cup water.
Sift all dry ingredients.
Add eggs to mix, then bicarb, then dry ingredients.
Mix well and pour into greased lined pan.
I roll up newspaper and tie it around the outside of the cake tin as well.
Bake at 180C (350F) for half an hour, then drop the temp to 160C (320F) for about 2 and a half hours.
Once the cake is out of the oven, and still warm, poke holes in the top of it with a skewer, and drizzle/pour brandy over it to soak in. You can do this every now and then from now till Christmas.
Fruit Cake #2
Double this recipe at Christmas.
1lb mixed fruit
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
quarter lb marge
1 teaspoon bicarb (baking soda)
1 teasp mixed spice
Mix all the above in a large pot and boil for 10 mins
Add 2 cups flour - plain
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 beaten eggs
2 pieces of chopped glace pineapple
2 pieces of chopped glace fig
Greased, lined pan + newspaper and string around.
Bake at 180 (350F) for quarter of an hour and then 160C (320F) for 1 and a quarter hours.