Tip the sugar, butter, dried fruit, whole
cherries, ginger, orange zest and juice
into a large pan. Pour over the rum,
brandy or juice, then put on the heat and
slowly bring to the boil, stirring frequently
to melt the butter. Reduce the heat and
bubble gently, uncovered for 10 mins,
stirring every now and again to make sure
the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom
of the pan. Set aside for 30 mins to cool.
Stir the nuts, eggs and ground almonds
into the fruit, then sift in the flour, baking
powder and spices. Stir everything
together gently but thoroughly. Your
batter is ready.
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.
Butter and line the base and sides of a
18cm square tin with baking paper. Spoon
the cake mix into the tin and level the top
with a spoon dipped into boiling water.
Bake for 45 mins, then turn oven down to
140C/120C fan/gas 1 and cook for 1 hr
more or until a skewer inserted comes
out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Will keep
well-wrapped in foil for 2 months or
freeze for 1 year.
Carefully cut the square cake in half
and trim the edges so that you see the
texture of the cake on all sides. Roll out
each piece of marzipan on a surface
dusted with icing sugar until the size of
the top of each cake.
Generously brush the top of the cakes
with jam, place jam-side down on top of
the marzipan, then trim away the excess
marzipan with a sharp knife.
Make up the fondant icing to a
spreading consistency, then spread on
top of the cakes so that it slightly runs
over the edges. Top with cherries and
holly, then leave to set. Will keep in a
plastic container in a cool place for 4-7 days.