Preheat the oven to 150 °C and grease two 26 cm cake tins with margarine.
Line with a double layer of baking paper and grease again.CAKE
Cream the butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg yolks one by one, beating well after each addition.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt.
Mix the lemon juice, almond essence, fruit and nuts and stir into the butter mixture along with the dry ingredients.
Stir in the 250 ml brandy.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into the batter.
Turn the batter into the prepared tins, cover and place each tin in a cardboard box (see end of recipe).
Bake for three hours or until done (a testing skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean).
Moisten with a little extra brandy and cool the cakes in the tins.
When compoletely cooled, wrap the cakes in aluminium foil and store in an airtight container.TOPPING
Spread apricot jam all over the cakes.
Roll out the marzipan to a thickness of about 2 mm and cover the cakes evenly.
Trim any excess bits.
Cut out stars or any other decorative shapes from the leftover icing and scure to the cakes.Note:
plastic icing is available from large supermarkets.
Baking in a cardboard box
Choose a hard cardboard box large enough to hold the cake tin and cover the box with three layers of brown paper. Cover the tin and the unbaked cake mixture with a thick piece of aluminium foil or a double layer of brown paper and place in the box. Place the box in the oven and bake as described in the recipe. Note: this method is suitable only for electric ovens.