Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line a large (2lb) loaf tin with non-stick baking parchment.
Sieve the flour and spices together into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
Stir in the sugar and dried fruit.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the beaten egg. Start to stir together, adding the milk a little at a time until the mixture has a soft dropping consistency.
Spoon into the loaf tin and decorate the top with glace cherries and blanched almonds, if desired.
Bake for 35 minutes then test with a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake. When it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
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