Battenberg cake

Battenberg cake

Bake and Decorate
Laura Edwards

This is serious retro territory! Reminiscent of our childhoods (when it came from a packet), it is said to have been created for the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. Each square represents one of the 4 Battenberg princes: Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph. It is exceptionally pretty and beats anything you can buy hands down.


Quantity Ingredient
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
175g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
175g white caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed
pink food colour
4 tablespoons apricot jam
icing sugar, to dust
250g Marzipan, yellow coloured


  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Lightly butter a 20 cm square tin and line the base with baking parchment. Also cut out a rectangle of baking parchment, as long and deep as the tin, to act as a divider lengthways between the 2 colours of sponge.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or in a large bowl with a handheld whisk, first sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the butter, cut into knobs, the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth, adding a little milk to loosen the mixture if it seems too stiff. Weigh out half the batter and place the divider down the centre of the tin.
  3. Carefully place half the batter into 1 side of the tin. Tint the remaining mixture pink – it is much better to do this not too exuberantly, so take care! – and stir until blended. As neatly as possible, spoon the pink mixture into the other side of the tin.
  4. Bake for about 30–35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake springs back to the touch. Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack. When completely cold, slice each colour lengthways into 2 equal blocks, then trim off all the rough edges.
  5. Warm the jam in a small pan, push it through a sieve, then use it to glue the strips of cake together lengthways, so the natural and pink colours form opposite quarters.
  6. On a work surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out the marzipan into a rectangle the length of the cake and wide enough to wrap around all 4 sides. Trim it to size. Brush the remaining jam all over the cake and wrap the marzipan around the cake. Seal the join by gently pressing it together, then turn so this seam is hidden on the bottom. Trim the ends with a sharp knife, then score a criss-cross on the top surface.
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