A dense, strongly flavoured fruitcake to eat with tea or coffee.
1lb (450g) honey
9oz (250g) granulated sugar
1tablespoonbicarbonate of soda
1lb (450g) wholemeal flour
3oz (75g) ground almonds
2fl oz (50ml) rum
½teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground mace
8oz (225g) sultanas
Blend the honey, sugar and 6fl oz (175ml) boiling water. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
Stir in the salt, bicarbonate of soda and flour, a little at a time. Beat this together, preferably in an electric mixer, for 5 minutes.
Beat in all the other ingredients.
Spoon the mixture into a buttered 2lb (900g) loaf tin. The tin should be about two-thirds full. The batter will rise to fill the tin as it cooks.
Bake in the middle of an oven, preheated to 325°F (160°C) Gas 3 for 11/4 hours. Try to avoid opening the oven door during the first 45 minutes of cooking. If the top of the cake becomes too dark you may cover it with silver foil or greaseproof paper.
When cooked, let the spice cake cool in its tin for 10—15 minutes, then unmould on to a wire rack.
When cool, wrap in cling film and store in the refrigerator. It will keep for weeks, the flavour improving and developing.