Preparation / Directions:
Heat oven to 350*F. Grease and flour 8 or 9-inch square pan. In large bowl, combine all cake ingredients at low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Spread batter in greased and floured pan.
Bake at 350*F for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely.
In medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, gelatin and dash of salt. Stir in 1 1/4 cups milk; blend well. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and slightly thickens, stirring constantly. In small bowl, beat 2 egg yolks; gradually blend 1/4 of hot milk mixture into yolks. Add egg yolk mixture to saucepan; cook 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cool. Fold in whipped cream. Cover; refrigerate until firm enough to spread.
In medium bowl, break almond paste into pieces. Add corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar; mix until mixture forms a soft dough. Stir in enough additional powdered sugar to form a stiff dough. Knead in more powdered sugar until marzipan is firm but not sticky; set aside 1/3 cup. On pastry cloth sprinkled with powdered sugar, roll out remaining marzipan into 12-inch square. Cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper until cake is assembled.
To assemble cake, slice cooled cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place 1 layer on serving plate; spread cream filling over cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer. Brush sides and top of cake with apricot preserves. Place marzipan square over top and sides of cake, encasing cake. Make pleats with marzipan at corners; trim bottom edge. Tint reserved 1/3 cup marzipan as desired with food coloring. Between layers of waxed paper, roll out marzipan with rolling pin. Cut into desired shapes. Arrange on top of cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Store in refrigerator.