You will need
100 g red glacé cherries, halved
125 g sultanas
100 g glazed pineapple, cut into small wedges
60 g glazed green figs, cut into blocks
125 g Turkish apricots, cut into small blocks
½ cup (125 ml) rooibos tea
¼ cup (60 ml) medium or dry sherry
2 T (30 ml) marmalade
grated rind of one lemon
¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice
1 x 600 g Ina Paarman’s Vanilla Cake Mix
1 T (15 ml) cinnamon or mixed spice
250 g butter, at room temperature
4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
100 g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
Place all the fruit in a colander over a deep mixing bowl. Pour one kettle of boiling water over it to wash away cherry syrup and sugar used for glazing. Discard water. Transfer fruit back into the warm mixing bowl. Add the tea, sherry, marmalade, lemon rind and juice. Stir together and leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.
Fold a double sheet of newspaper 4 x into a strip. Spray with water to dampen it down before wrapping it around the pan. Secure with paper clips. Spray another 4 layers of newspaper and put it flat on a baking sheet.
Adjust oven shelf to one slot below the middle position. Preheat oven to 170°C. Butter a 23 cm square or round cake pan and line the base with baking paper.
Ignore package instructions on Vanilla Cake Mix and follow the method below.
Add cinnamon or mixed spice to dry Cake Mix. Cream butter until soft and fluffy. Add 1 egg and 1 T Cake Mix at a time, beating after each addition, until you have used all 4 eggs.
Add half of the dry cake mix and fold it in with a spatula. Add the soaked fruit and all the liquid and fold it in.
Finally add the other half of the Cake Mix and fold it in together with half of the almonds. Mix gently, by hand, until evenly blended.
Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared pan. Firmly tap the pan on the counter four times to level the mixture and drive out any air bubbles. Sprinkle the remaining almonds over the cake and press down lightly with the back of a spoon or potato masher.
Position the cake on the baking tray with damp newspaper before putting it into the oven. Bake for 1 hour. Rest another double sheet of newspaper on top of the pan to prevent the cake from over browning on top. Bake for a final 30 minutes.
Leave cake to rest in the pan until cool to the touch. Turn out on a cooling rack. Leave to cool. Wrap tightly in foil before storing in an airtight container. This cake will also freeze exceptionally well.
Add 60 g preserved ginger, roughly chopped.