English butter cake for Christmas

Serves 15

250g butter, creamy
1 ¼ cups (250g) sugar
5 egg yolks
5 egg whites
3 tablespoons cognac (French brandy)
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
3 cups (360g) flour
1 cup (110g) cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup glacé fruit, chopped
1 cup (225g) raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup almonds

Beat butter and sugar until creamy.
Beat in the egg yolks, cognac and vanilla essence.
Sift together flour, cornstarch and baking powder and fold into the mixture.

Mix the chopped fruits in a bowl and fold in 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour.
Stir into the batter.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture, until well blended.

Pour the batter into a well greased and floured loaf tin and bake in a moderate oven for about 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and cool over a wire rack.

It can be prepared and stored or frozen, wrapped in plastic food wrap when still warm.