As usual, all the ingredients for this sturdy cake are quite costly. Lots of bags of dried fruits, spices and sugars doesn't actually come that cheap (and that's before you add in the good brandy) but it's totally worth it. Every year I've done these they've never failed to impressed and the homemade element of something at Christmas is something you can't buy.
I will say though, this year didn't quite go to plan, as this cakes relies heavily on a trust worthy oven and lots of faith, given my very un-reliable beast of an oven I had a few complications... The first cake I made, I placed in the oven for the specified 4 hours at the temp Delia suggested - burnt to an absolute crisp. She suggests not even looking at it until at least 3 and a half hours have passed, I would certainly suggest otherwise and perhaps taking a wee peek at about 2.5 hours in. Also, I can't stress enough how important wrapping your cake in brown paper before it goes into the oven is, especially on the top of the cake. This protects it from the prolonged heat.
Anyway, after disaster no.1 (very annoying when you consider I havent changed my method with this the past three times!) I made the cake again and only cooked it for 3 hours. It was a lot lighter in colour than previous years but I found that actually, the taste of the fruit it much nicer this way so it's something I may continue.
So, I used a large square tin, baked, fed it brandy for 4 weeks then divided into four individual cakes. Covered in marzipan (mmmmm) and then royal icing. Wrapped in brown paper with a pretty bow.
(also, with the remains of the previous burnt cake I managed to use the very middle to make a couple of mini mini ones too)
Then I put them into some mini hampers :)