1.Grease a 23cm square slab pan, line base and sides with paper, grease paper well.
2.Combine dates with water in bowl, cover, cool to room temperature.
3.Cream butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beat until combined. Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir in sifted flour in 2 lots. Spread half the mixture evenly into prepared pan. Combine remaining mixture with undrained date mixture, spread into pan. Sprinkle with almonds and cherries. Bake in moderately slow oven for about 50 minutes. Stand 5 minutes before turning on to wire rack to cool.
Keeping time: 3 days.Note