Battenburg cake

I’ve been wanting to make a battenburg cake for a while, mainly to see if it’s really as difficult as the contestants on the Great British Bake Off made it look.

I wanted to keep it traditional though, so I took Mary Berry’s basic recipe but got rid of the coffee and walnuts and added red food colouring for the colour contrast.

It didn’t turn out quite as perfect as I would have liked – my baking paper tin divider fell over while cooking so the sponges weren’t the same size, and when sliced the cake revealed slightly mismatching rectangles rather than perfect squares…

I also didn’t have pink colouring so used red instead, and ended up with an orange and white checked cake, although it did produce a good colour contrast.

Still, it tasted how a Battenburg should, and that’s what really matters, right?!

Battenburg cake (adapted from the Great British Bake Off – How to Bake):

Serves about 8

  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1tsp pink or red food colouring
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
  • 250g golden marzipan

Start by preparing an 8×8″ square baking tin, by folding a piece of baking paper, cut to fit the width of the tin, to create a divider, like so:

Mary uses the all in one method for this sponge, but I’m not a fan, so I creamed the butter and sugar together, before beating in the eggs and vanilla, then folding in the flour and ground almonds. Divide the mixture between two bowls (I weighed it for accuracy but you can probably do it by eye) then add 1tbsp milk and 1 tsp red food colouring to one bowl, and 1tbsp + 1tsp milk to the other bowl. make sure both mixtures are well combined, then spread into each side of the prepared tin.

Bake at then leave to cool. When the cakes are cool, remove from the tin. If you’re lucky you’ll have perfectly equal sized sponges, but if not, trim them to the same width and cut each in half, so you have four long rectangles of sponge.

Roll out the marzipan to the width of the sponges and long enough to wrap around them as a block. brush a strip of warmed apricot jam onto the marzipan, then place two fingers of sponge – making sure you have one of each colour.

Brush these with more jam, then place the other two sponges on top, white on top of red and red on top of white. Brush the whole thing with the remaining jam, then roll to cover with the marzipan.

Trim any overhanging marzipan along the length of the cake, then slice each end so it looks neat. If you want to get fancy, pinch together the marzipan along the top edges – I tried this but it didn’t really work… Cut into slices and eat!

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4 thoughts on “Battenburg cake

  1. Battenburg is on my list too. I love it and it always reminds me of my grandfather as it was his favourite cake, but I haven’t quite got round to doing one myself yet. I like yours, I really don’t think that homemade cakes should have to look perfect, it really is a huge part of their charm!

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