Add all the fruit and nuts to a large bowl and soak in the orange juice for a couple of hours.
Prepare the cake tin, I use a deep 8inch/20cm round cake with loose bottom, ensure that you have double, if not treble lined the tin (my mum always wraps newspaper around her round Christmas Cakes) the idea is to insulate as much as possible to reduce risk of the cake mixture catching and burning.
Preheat oven to 150°C | 130°C fan | 300°F | Gas 2.
In a mixer, cream the butter, sugar, treacle until paler in colour, then add the eggs, don't worry if it appears to curdle once the dry ingredients go in it will be fine.
Add the flour and spices, continue to beat until light and fluffy then add the fruit, juice too. Mix until thoroughly incorporated
Spoon half the thick mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down.
Now take 300g of marzipan and roll into a circle approx. 5mm thick, make sure the circle is small than the cake tin, you do not want your marzipan to touch the sides of the tin during baking.
Place the circle of marzipan onto the 1st layer of fruit cake and press gently into the dough mixture
Now spoon the remaining mixture over the marzipan disc and smooth out with a spatula or back of a spoon TIP: I use a wet spoon to do this to get a smooth finish. Then add a round disc of greaseproof paper to the top to prevent any burning.
Cook on the bottom shelf of the oven for 4 and a half hours, this is a thick fruit cake so it needs a while to bake just like a Christmas cake.
Remove from oven when inserted skewer comes out clean, allow to cool slightly then remove the baking paper and allow to cool completely.
Allow to cool completely and, still in the greaseproof paper, wrap in a second coat of tin foil.
Brush the cake with apricot jam to allow the marzipan to stick.
Roll out the marzipan to an 8 inch circle about 1cm in thickness. Using your offcuts roll eleven large marble sized balls to represent the 11 apostles.
Place the marzipan disc on top of the cake and press down gently to secure. Dip each marzipan ball in the remaining jam and decorate the cake with each ball spaced evenly.TIP: I place the balls around the cake first and when I'm happy with the position I dip each one in jam and return it to the cake.
If you have any left over marzipan you might like to add this rope effect simply by rolling out two thin lengths of marzipan and twisting them together.
Finally place your cake under a preheated hot grill to brown the tops. Alternatively use a kitchen blow torch.