Cream 1 cup sugar, lemon rind, and egg yolks until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in the almonds and cinnamon. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Stir a few tablespoons of the egg white into the almond mixture, then fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Pour into 2 greased 8-inch layer pans and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until the cakes are well browned. Cool briefly, then remove the cakes from the pans.
To make topping, whip 1/2 pint of whipping cream, 1/4 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon very strong brandy (optional) until stiff. Generously coat the top of one cake and place the other cake on top. Place a 4-inch Cross of Santiago in the center and sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.
Make a festive, seasonal cake by using other stencils in place of the cross - a heart for Valentine's Day, a snowflake for winter, etc.
If you prefer frosting, spread the remaining topping on the top and sides of the cake and garnish with chopped almonds.