This fruitcake comes from Dromoland Castle (Newmarket-on-Fergus).
1 cup water
1 cup (4 ounces) raisins
1 cup (4 ounces) sultanas (golden raisins)
2 ounces red glace cherries
1-1/2 Tablespoons dark rum
1-1/2 Tablespoons sherry
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or mixed spice (see note)
The day before baking, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water to a boil.
Stir in the raisins, sultanas and cherries, and cook for 3 minutes.
Drain the fruit and transfer to a small bowl.
Stir in the rum, sherry and vanilla.
Let cool for 30 minutes, then cover and let stand for 24 hours at room temperature.
On the day of baking, preheat the over to 300 degrees.
Line a 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan with waxed paper. Butter the paper.
Beat the 1/2 cup of butter and the sugar with an electric mixer until light an fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
With a wooden spoon, fold in the flour and spice.
Stir in the reserved fruit mixture.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Invert the cake onto the rack, peel off the waxed paper, and wrap the cake in aluminum foil.
Let sit overnight at room temperature before cutting into slices.
Serves 8 to 10.
Note: To make mixed spice, put 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, 1 crushed cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, and 1 teaspoon allspice berries in a spice or coffee grinder. Process until finely ground. Add 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and 2 teaspoons ground ginger. Mix thoroughly, stirring by hand. Store in an airtight container.
Source: Tea & Crumpets, by Margaret M. Johnson (Chronicle Books, 2009). Reprinted with permission of the author.