Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F / Gas mark 2.
Grease a 20cm round or an 18cm square cake tin and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment.
In a large bowl, sieve the flour, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon.
Cream the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl and then mix in the sugar, treacle, marmalade and vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
Mix the eggs a little at a time into the mixture adding a tablespoon of flour mixture with the last amount.
Add in the remaining flour mixture until well mixed and then mix in the dried fruit, mixed peel, glace cherries and the almonds.
Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and make a slight hollow in the centre.
Bake in the oven for 3 hours and then test with a skewer. If it is not ready bake for up to another hour testing it every 20 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
Turn out on to a wire rack to rest.
Once cool, make a few holes in the cake with a skewer and pour over 3-4 tablespoons of brandy.
Let the brandy soak into the cake.
Store the cake wrapped in foil and in an airtight tin or plastic container, holes side up.
Spoon over a few tablespoons of brandy every week until you are ready to ice and decorate your cake.
To decorate the cake, place the cake on a cake plate.
Dust your hands and the work surface with a little icing sugar and knead the marzipan until soft.
Roll out half the marzipan to fit the top of the cake and roll out the rest in strips to fit around the sides of the cake.
Brush the cake all over with the warmed apricot jam and then place the marzipan on top and around the cake.
Cover the cake with a clean tea towel and then leave in a cool place for at least one day.
To make the icing, lightly whisk the egg whites adding the sugar slowly.
Beat well until the soft peaks are formed.
Add the lemon juice.
Spread the icing all over the cake and decorate with Christmas ornaments if you like.