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Cut the cake into very thick slices and spread each piece with a generous amount of raspberry jam. Arrange the slices on the bottom of a large glass bowl. If you prefer to use individual dishes, divide the cake equally among the dishes. Sprinkle the almonds over the cake slices, pour on the brandy and sherry and allow it to soak for about 40 minutes but not longer as the cake will becomes soggy. (Anne's note: I like it soggy, and left the cake to soak overnight). Bring the milk and cream with vanilla pod to a boil in a double boiler. Remove from heat and discard the vanilla pod. Mix the cornstarch with the sugar and eggs and gradually pour in the milk and cream. Transfer the mixture back to the double boiler and stir until the custard becomes thick and creamy. Do not allow to boil. Let the custard cool a little and then pour it over the cake. Let the cake set and when it fully cooled, spread any remaining jam on top, then cover with whipped cream. Decorate the trifle with citron slices and crystallized violets or strawberry slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve.