extra pecans, dried apricots, vanilla pod, cinnamon sticks, sliced ginger, glace cherries and cranberries, to decorate
Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Butter and double line the base and sides of a 20cm square deep cake tin with baking parchment. Grind 100g of the pecans in a food processor.
Chop up the butter and put in a large heavy-based pan with the sugar, cranberries, apricots, orange zest and juice and brandy. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the butter is melted, then simmer for 10 mins until the fruits are plump and glossy. Remove from the heat and cool for 30 mins.
Beat the eggs lightly. Sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger and cinnamon. Stir the eggs, ground pecans, remaining pecan halves, flour mixture and crystallised ginger into the pan, stirring until well mixed.
Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hr, then reduce the temperature to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 and cook for a further 1½-2 hrs, until the cake feels firm and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, turn out, then remove the paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Warm the jam with 1 tbsp water, then press through a sieve into a bowl. Put the cake on a board and brush the top with a thin layer of jam, reserving some for later. Lightly dust a surface with icing sugar, then roll out the marzipan to slightly larger than the top of the cake. Lift onto the cake, press on lightly, then trim to meet the edges. Cut in half.
Brush the remaining jam over the marzipan, then decorate the tops with dried fruits, nuts and other ingredients of your choice. Wrap each cake first in baking parchment, then in foil. Store in the tin for up to 3 weeks. Can be frozen for up to 2 months.