Heat the oven to 170C, 150C fan, gas 3. Line a 20cm round, 10cm deep cake tin with baking parchment.
With an electric whisk, beat together the sugar and 50g of conserve with the eggs and oil for 3-4 mins.
Stir in all the remaining ingredients until evenly mixed and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
A skewer pushed into the centre should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning out.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. Put the mascarpone in a bowl and gradually beat in the cream with a wooden spoon until thick and smooth. Now beat in the soft cheese and icing sugar. Chill the mixture for 15 mins.
Cut the cold cake into three layers. Set aside the top of the cake and spread the bottom and middle layer generously with the remaining apricot conserve. Lightly dollop about a third of the frosting onto the conserve and spread evenly. Layer up the cake again and lightly cover the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Some of the cake should show through.
How to Decorate
- Make a mini gingerbread house using gingerbread biscuit dough, see our recipe for Spiced Christmas Wreath.
- Download a template or use gingerbread house cutters.
- Spoon or pipe thick royal icing on the baked roof pieces to resemble snow.
- Assemble all the pieces with icing and leave to set.
- The houses can be made up to 1 week ahead and kept in an airtight container.
- Swirl the frosting on top of the cake to resemble thick snow drifts and pop on the mini house.
- Pick strong woody stems of fresh rosemary and turn upside down to resemble Christmas trees.
- Trim the tops and pull a few leaves off the base.
- Stick the stems into the cake.