Line a deep 22cm round cake pan with three layers of baking paper, extending paper 5cm above side.
Combine fruit, butter, sugar, 3/4 cup of the sherry (or the brandy essence mixture) and the water in a large saucepan; stir over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil, remove from heat; transfer to a large bowl; cool.
Preheat oven to 150°C (130°C fan-forced).
Stir rind (or orange essence) and eggs into the fruit mixture, then the sifted dry ingredients. Spread the mixture into the pan and top with nuts.
Bake cake for about 3 hours. Brush hot cake with remaining sherry; cover with foil; cool in pan overnight.