In a large pot, melt together the water, brandy, orange zest and juice, butter, sugar and mixed spice, stirring to combine.
Once melted, add the dried fruit. Mix well and simmer over medium heat, continuing to stir, for approximately 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the fruit. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 140°C/284°F (fan-forced) and lightly grease, then double line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
When the fruit mixture has cooled, mix in the eggs, almond meal, and sift in the rice flour, tapioca flour and baking powder. The mixture will be quite thick and dense.
Transfer the cake mix to the lined tin, and if you like, decorate the cake by placing the blanched almonds around the cake’s edge or feel free to create an elaborate design. Bake for 1.5 hours. I suggest checking the cake after 1 hour and if it seems to be getting too dark on top, cover loosely with foil.
You can test the cake for readiness by inserting a skewer which will come out clean when the cake is done. Remove the cake from the oven and if you like, pierce all over carefully with a sharp skewer, then drizzle over the extra 2 tablespoons of brandy.
If you would like to glaze the cake, simply melt together the 2 tablespoons of apricot jam with 1 tablespoon of water in a small pot. Use a pastry brush to ‘paint’ the glaze over the top of the cake.
Allow to cool completely before slicing.