To make cakes: Cream butter and 1 cup sugar together.
Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time.
Mix in vanilla extract.
Stir in flour, baking powder and salt gently.
Add milk if needed.
Divide batter into 2 equal parts.
Add food coloring to 1 part to make a deep pink color.
Grease two 7-inch square pans. Spread batters into pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F until an inserted wooden pick comes out clean, about 25-30
Let stand in pans 5 minutes.
Turn out on racks to cool.
Trim edges from both cakes. Cut each cake lengthwise into 4 strips as wide as
the cake is thick. Trim to make strips match.
Heat jam slightly. Spread on sides
to glue 2 pink and 2 white strips together checkerboard fashion. Spread all 4 sides
of completed cake with jam.
Repeat with remaining pink and white stripes.
To make almond paste: Mix almonds, confectioners' sugar, egg, lemon juice and
almond extract together. Knead until smooth, adding a bit of lemon juice or water
if too dry to roll. Add only 1/2 teaspoon at a time. It will be stiff. Divide into
2 equal parts.
Roll 1/2 of paste 1/8 inch thick on a surface lightly dusted with confectioners'
sugar. Cut to fit length of cake and long enough to cover 4 sides leaving ends uncovered.
Lay cake on one end of paste. Wrap completely to enclose all 4 sides of cake pinching
paste to seal.
Roll in granulated sugar.
Place with seal underneath on serving plate,
or store in plastic bag. repeat for second cake. Chill.