Christmas Cake

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature 
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar 
4 eggs 
3 cups flour 
1/4 tsp salt 
1 tsp ground allspice 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp nutmeg 
1 1/2 cups each: currants; golden raisins; dark raisins 
1 1/2 cups soft dried figs, chopped
1 1/2 cups dates, pitted and chopped 
1 cup chopped stoned dried prunes 
1 3/4 cups chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped 
2/3 cup plus 4 tbsp brandy 
2 teaspoons instant espresso, mixed with 1 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease a round 9- or 10-inch cake pan, 
and line bottom and sides with several layers of waxed paper. 

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high, 
beat the butter and sugar until it looks thick and creamy. 

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. 
Sift together the flour, salt, and spices, then fold into the creamed mixture. 

Add the fruit, almonds, 2/3 cup brandy, and espresso, folding in well. 
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. 

Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. 
Reduce the temperature to 275°F and bake for 3 1/2 hours. 

Remove the pan from the oven, cover it with a thickish cloth so that the cake will cool slowly. 
When the cake is cool, prick the top and sprinkle some brandy. 

Wrap in waxed paper and store in an airtight container. 
Keep in a cool place for up to 3 months.