Tip the dried fruits into a bowl and add the brandy or orange juice. Stir well then cover and leave for several hours or until the liquid is absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1. Grease and line the base and sides of a 15cm (6inch) round cake tin with greaseproof paper. Grease the paper.
Using a hand held electric whisk, beat together the butter, sugar and mixed spice until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, adding a spoonful of flour if the mixture begins to curdle. Stir in the remaining flour until combined.
Add the ginger, nuts, soaked fruits and any unabsorbed liquid and stir until evenly mixed. Turn into the tin and level the surface. Bake for about 2-2 1/2hours or until slightly risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
To decorate, use a palette knife to brush the apricot glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Reserve 50g (2oz) of the marzipan and roll out the remainder on a surface dusted with icing sugar to a round about 28cm (11inches) in diameter. Lift the paste over the cake and ease it to fit around the sides, trimming off the excess around the base.
Knead a little red food colouring into the reserved marzipan and roll out on a surface dusted with icing sugar. Cut out small heart shapes in various sizes.
Use the tube of writing icing to secure the bay leaves, almonds and heart shapes around the top edges of the cake. If liked secure a ribbon around the sides of the cake and store in a cool place until ready to serve.
1 serving = 147g
Dr. Oetker red Coloured Ready to Roll Icing can be used instead of marzipan to shape the hearts. This cake keeps well, covered with marzipan for a couple of weeks before decorating. Once decorated the bay leaves will start to wilt after several days.
Nutritional Information For the recipe Marzipan Heart Cake