3/4 cup (120 grams) candied mixed peel
1/2 cup (100 grams) candied red or green cherries (cut into quarters)
1/3 cup (40 grams) dark raisins
2-3 tablespoons Grand Marnier, rum, brandy, or sherry (optional)
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) ground almonds (almond meal/flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
Zest of one small lemon (outer skin)
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (whole or reduced fat)
In a bowl combine the candied mixed peel, cherries, and dark raisins. Stir in the alcohol, cover, and let sit at room temperature at least a day (up to two days). Stir occasionally.
When ready to make the cake batter, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C), with the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the extracts. Add the candied and dried fruits, along with any juices, and beat until incorporated. Beat in half the flour mixture just until incorporated. Then beat in the milk and then the remaining flour mixture.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and, if desired, decorate the top of the cake with sliced or flaked almonds. Bake for about 60 - 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (If you find the cake is browning too much, cover with a piece of aluminum foil.) Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. The cake does benefit from being stored a day or two before serving, as this softens the outer crust and allows the flavors to mingle. You can cover and store this cake for about a week at room temperature or it can be frozen.