I finished my Christmas cake on Monday. I used a Family Circle recipe from "the famed agricultural show and Country Women's Association cake judge, Norma Allen". The cake pan needed a lot of fussing: lined with baking paper; wrapped in newspaper tied with string; and baked upon a magazine in the oven. I chose a magazine with a picture of Oprah on the front (as you do). My only concern was that she'd invite Tom Cruise over -- he has a bad habit of jumping on the furniture which might make the cake fall.
The first step for the batter was to mix the soaked dried fruit and some orange marmalade. The cake mix was simple: cream butter and sugar; add flour and spices (I added cinnamon and ginger but not nutmeg); then mix by hand with a spoon. Then decorate with nuts and (ready?) bake for 2-1/2 hours at 150oC. I've never baked a cake for so long, but I guess all the wrapping plus the low temperature is the trick. After you take it out of the oven, you douse it with more alcohol (I chose Cointreau because of the lovely orange flavour) and wrap it tightly for 24 hours to contain the moisture.
Now apparently I keep it tightly wrapped for up to 3 months, adding more alcohol if desired.