less than 30 mins
over 2 hours
Equipment and preparation: For this recipe you’ll need 25cm/10in, 22cm/8½in, 18cm/7in, 15cm/6in and 10cm/4in round cake tins and respective thin cake boards. To assemble the cakes, you’ll need a 30cm/12in cake drum, 16 dowelling rods, three 12cm/4½in thin cake board and three 12cm/4½in polystyrene cake spacers covered in ribbon. All of these are available from specialist cake shops.
For the 25cm/10in cake, bake the fruit cake according to the recipe. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the 22cm/8½in and 10cm/4in cakes, make the cake mixture according to the recipe, divide between the two tins and cook according to the recipe. Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the 18cm/7in and 15cm/6in cakes, make the cake mixture according to the recipe, divide between the two tins and cook according to the recipe. (There will slightly too much cake mixture, and leftover mixture can be baked in a muffin tin). Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside to cool.
When the cakes are cold, spoon the top liberally with brandy, whisky or boiled orange juice, wrap well and leave for 3-4 days before icing.
To cover the cakes in marzipan, thin the apricot jam with a little water so it’s the consistency of double cream and bring this to the boil. Pour the hot jam through a sieve into a bowl, pressing any fruit pieces through to extract the liquid, then leave until warm before using.
If the cakes have peaked in the middle during baking you will want to carefully slice it flat. But if the cake is just gently domed then there’s no need.
Cover the 10cm/4in cake with marzipan. Smooth the edges with a cake smoother and set aside to dry in a cool, dark place for 4-5 days. Repeat with the 15cm/6in, 18cm/7in, 22cm/8½in, and 25cm/10in cakes.
Apply a thin layer of royal icing to each cake and leave to dry for 2-3 days, then apply another coat and leave to dry for a further 2-3 days. Sand the cakes with sandpaper for a really smooth finish.
Spoon the leftover royal icing into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle. Pipe small dots around top and bottom edge of each cake. For more elaborate decoration, you can cover the cake in small dots.
To assemble the cake, place the 25cm/10in cake onto the 30cm/12in cake drum. Place the 12cm/4½in cake board into the middle of the 25cm/10in and mark four points around the edge in a square. Push a dowelling rod into the cake and mark where it reaches the top of the cake. Cut the rod and three others to the same length and insert them into the cake at the four points.
Place the 12cm/4½in cake board onto the top of the dowelling rods and top with the 12cm/4½in polystyrene cake spacer. Place the 22cm/8½in cake on top.
Repeat with the 22cm/8½in cake and 18cm/7in cakes, finishing with the 15cm/6in cake. Insert dowelling rods into the 15cm/6in and finally place the 10cm/4in cake on top. Decorate with fresh or fondant flowers.