Put a large bundt tin in the fridge for 10 minutes, or in the freezer for 5 minutes – this makes it easier to grease, especially if it’s non-stick.
Brush the chilled tin with melted butter, ensuring every little groove is coated. Dust with 1 tablespoon of the flour and tap out the excess.
Finely chop the candied peel, then place in a small saucepan with the raisins.
Add the brandy and orange blossom water (if using), then set it over a low heat until warm, but do not let it boil. Remove from the heat, stir well and set aside until the fruit has soaked up all of the liquid.
Meanwhile, to make your dough, tip the yeast into the bowl of a free-standing mixer.
Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar (roughly ¼ of a teaspoon).
In a pan, heat the milk until just warm and add to the yeast with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Whisk well to combine, then leave for about 10 minutes, until the yeast has formed a thick, foamy crust on top of the milk.
Add the remaining sugar, plain flour, ground cardamom, cinnamon and a grating of nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon of sea salt.
Whisk the buttermilk with the whole eggs and egg yolk, finely grate in the lemon zest and add the vanilla, then add to the bowl.
Add the butter, then, using the dough hook, start mixing the dough on a slow speed until combined. Continue to mix for a further 3 to 4 minutes until silky smooth.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Scatter the whole almonds into the bottom of the prepared tin.
Tip the soaked fruit into the dough and mix again until combined. Spoon the dough evenly into the tin over the nuts, spread level, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise again until almost doubled in size; this will take 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas 3 and position the rack in the bottom third.
Bake the kugelhopf for 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown, well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Sit the tin on a wire rack for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn the kugelhopf out of the tin and leave to cool, upright, until completely cold.
Dust liberally with icing sugar to serve.
Not to be confused with fast-action dried yeast, which comes in sachets, dried active yeast comes in a tub. Unlike fast-action, it needs to be activated with warm liquid and sugar before adding to the mixture.