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Serves 12

* 225g butter (room temperature) or vegetable spread (at least 70% fat), plus extra for greasing
* 225g caster sugar
* 4 large eggs
* 225g self-raising flour
* 100g ground almonds
* 1⁄2 tsp almond extract
* 450g mixed dried fruit
* 25g flaked almonds (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan 140°C/325°F/Gas 3). Grease a 20cm (8in) springform or deep, loose-bottomed round cake tin. Line the base and sides of the tin with baking parchment.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter or vegetable spread and sugar with an electric mixer or wooden spoon until fluffy, then add the eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition to prevent curdling.

3. Fold in the flour, ground almonds, and almond extract and beat until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Gently fold the dried fruit into the mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until well combined.

4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top. If you like, sprinkle the surface with the flaked almonds.

5. Put the tin into the oven and bake for one and a half to two hours. Test the cake for doneness as shown below. If the skewer comes out wet and sticky, return the cake to the oven to cook further. When the cake is done, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

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