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Put the sugar into a large bowl. Beat the softened butter into the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating to incorporate. Then, while constantly beating, add the honey, spices and flour. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold them into the batter with the baking powder, walnuts, almonds and candied orange.
Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 4. Butter and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin and tip in the cake batter – it should come no more than halfway up the tin. Put in the oven and lower the temperature to 170C/150C fan/gas 3 and bake for 50 mins-1 hr or until a skewer poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
To make the topping, put the butter into a saucepan, add 2 tbsp cold water, the sugar and the cocoa. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 mins. Take off the heat and, stirring constantly, pour in the cognac. Coat the cooled gingerbread with the glaze and set aside to cool.