When I was a child, it puzzled me that other families left cookies and milk for Santa Claus. He could have that any day. In our family, my two brothers and I set out a slice of my mother’s homemade fruitcake and a glass of port for the jolly old elf. (The fact that my father had a special fondness for fruitcake and port never aroused our suspicions; we were a little slow.) After I grew up, I embarked on a personal quest to make the perfect fruitcake, one even better than Mother’s. My mission was accomplished when I discovered Terence and Caroline Conran’s Cook Book and its wonderful recipe for Twelfth Day Cake. For twenty years I’ve made this old-fashioned cake with its abundance of allspice and cloves and its sweet, winy raisins, currants, and dried cherries. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it—and a glass of port.