Preparation time: 1 hour plus overnight soaking
Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes–3 hours
Combine the dried fruit, peel, cherries, almonds, sherry and brandy in a large bowl. Stir, cover and leave overnight.
The next day, add the lemon zest to the fruit and stir well. Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1. Line a baking tray with a double layer of foil. Grease the tin and line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper. Secure a sheet of newspaper around the outside of the tin with a paperclip. spices and flour and fold them into the mixture until just combined. Add the fruit and stir to distribute it evenly through the batter, then transfer the batter to the tin. Make a shallow depression in the middle.
Place the tin on the baking tray and cover securely with a sheet of foil. Bake in the centre of the oven for two-and-a-half hours, turning every 30 minutes. Check whether the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, reduce the oven temperature to 130°C/gas mark 0.5 and retest after 30 minutes.