200g dried apricots, roughly chopped
1¹⁄³ cups sherry or apera
½ cup apricot jam
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
250g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra, to grease
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups plain flour
½ cup self-raising flour
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp nutmeg
250g packet ready-to-roll marzipan
Fresh flowers, to decorate
125g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups pure icing sugar, sifted
½ tsp vanilla extract
Note: Allow 2 hours soaking
To bring out the richest flavours from the dried fruit, soak it (see Step 1) for up to a month in advance, keeping it in the fridge.
Try using dark brown sugar instead of the caster sugar for a darker-coloured cake.
If you prefer a more traditional fruitcake finish, use ready-to-roll fondant (available from supermarkets) instead of the buttercream.
Decorate with pretty sprigs from the garden, wrapping the stems in foil
Put sultanas, raisins, apricots, 1 cup of sherry, jam and orange zest and juice in a large bowl, mixing to combine. Cover and leave to soak for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease 2 x 17cm round springform cake tins and line bases and sides with a double layer of baking paper. Stir butter, sugar and eggs into fruit mixture until well combined.
Sift flours, cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg over mixture, stirring to combine. Spoon into prepared cake tins. Smooth down surface with the back of a wet spoon and tap cake gently on a benchtop to settle mixture.
Wrap a double thickness of brown paper or newspaper around tins and secure with kitchen string. Bake for 2 hours 15 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven and pour remaining sherry over surface of cakes. Put on a wire rack to cool completely before removing cakes from tins.
To make buttercream, put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft, smooth and pale in colour. Leaving mixer running, add 2 Tbsp of the icing sugar at a time, beating well after each addition, until all icing sugar is added and a thick, smooth cream forms. Add vanilla extract, beating to combine.
Trim cakes and place one on a cake stand. Roll out marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar until 4mm thick. Cut a 17cm round from marzipan and put on top of base cake, trimming if necessary. Put remaining cake on top.
Spoon buttercream onto tiered cake and spread evenly with a palate knife. Decorate top of cake with fresh flowers and serve.