Preheat your oven to 285°F and prepare an 8 inch cake pan by greasing it with butter and lining the base and sides with baking parchment.
Mix the dried fruit, almonds, peel, figs, and cherries in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon zest before stirring together until everything is well combined.
In a separate bowl (or using an electric mixer), cream together the butter and dark brown sugar thoroughly, then add the vanilla extract, Bees & Trees Mānuka honey and molasses.
Still beating, incorporate the eggs, then stir in the fruit and flour mixture. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and stir in thoroughly. Add the brandy or apple juice by the spoonful, until you have a soft dropping consistency.
Turn the batter into the cake pan and make a dip in the middle using the back of a spoon. Bake for 3½ hrs, then insert a skewer – if it comes out clean, it’s ready. If there is any cake mix on the skewer, give it 10 mins more.
When it’s done, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in its pan. When fully-cooled, transfer to wire rack and decorate the cake with honey, flaked almonds and more brandy if desired!