Chop all the dried fruits into small (cranberry-size) pieces. Combine these in a bowl with the orange rind and juice and mix well. Leave to soak for approximately 30 minutes.
Put the Stork, sugar, eggs and almonds in a mixing bowl and sieve the flour and baking powder over. Beat until well mixed then fold in the fruit mixture.
Spoon into a greased and bottom-lined 20cm (8 inch) deep round cake tin.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C, 160°C fan, Gas mark 4 for 1 – 1¼ hours or until cooked through (a fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean). Leave to cool before removing the cake from the tin.
Place the almonds and sugar in a heavy based pan and place over a moderate heat until the sugar melts and turns a golden caramel colour shaking the pan from time to time. Pour onto parchment paper and leave till cold. Place in polythene bag and bash with rolling pin until roughly ground.
Beat the icing sugar, Stork and milk together and spread half over sides of cake. Spread remaining icing over top and sprinkle with the praline mix.
To assemble cake: make gingerbread houses and decorate as recipe.
Roll out some of the sugar paste until very thin and lay it over the board. Roll it firmly into the surface and use the rolling pin to smooth paste off the edges. Place the cake on top secured with a little royal icing to stop it moving.
Spread a little royal icing on the back of each house and gently push onto the side of the cake so that the bottom of each one rests on the cake board. Try not to allow any gaps between the houses.
When all the houses are in place, take a length of ribbon and trim the bottom of the houses, securing at the back with a blob of royal icing. Use double sided tape to attach ribbon to the base board. There will be some houses leftover which can be eaten separately.
Tips if time is short:
Leave out the praline and use ready chopped nuts. Make the cake in advance and freeze for up to 2 months, saving time nearer Christmas. The biscuits can be made 5-6 days in advance and kept in an airtight container before decorating.
Recipe courtesy of Stork