To get the best out of the fruit, put the first seven ingredients in a large ovenproof dish, mix well together and cover the dish with a piece of foil. Place in a very cool oven, about 130°C/Gas mark 1, and leave for about 30 minutes, to allow the fruit to warm and become a little sticky. As you remove the foil, the fruity aroma will give you a whiff of what is to come. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 145°C/Gas mark 1–2. Sift the flour, salt, mixed spice, nutmeg and ginger into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and combine well together. Add the butter, three-quarters of the beaten egg and the golden syrup or treacle. Using either a hand-held electric whisk or a free-standing electric mixer, beat for about 1-2 minutes until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the remaining egg and beat
for a further 30 seconds.
Add the dried fruit, walnuts and grated apple. Use a large metal spoon to fold them in until everything is thoroughly mixed together.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing it out lightly with the back of the spoon. Make a slight hollow in the centre of the cake – this will prevent the cake from rising in the centre. Place a piece of foil, with a hole (about 4cm wide) cut in the middle, over the cake tin.
Bake in the oven for roughly half the allotted cooking time. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cake is golden in colour and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Trickle the remaining brandy over the top of the hot cake. Allow to cool completely before turning out. Leave the baking parchment on the
cake until you’re ready to slice it.
The cake will mature nicely if kept wrapped in greaseproof paper in an airtight container. You can store it like this for up to 3 months.