Recipe – Battenberg Cake

Iconic! There is no better word. Developed for when Queen Victoria’s daughter married a prince from Battenberg, it’s a classic British cake. For best results you need this specialist tin from Lakeland, however you can use two normal 20x15cm straight sided cake tins but you need to make two cakes, doubling the quantities below and baking a whole colour in each tray, slicing the cakes after cooling into logs.

For one cake, you will need:

  • 180g unsalted butter, softened
  • 180g golden caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • A squidge of pink food colouring gel
  • A squidge of yellow food colouring gel
  • 1 block of yellow marzipan
  • 200g apricot jam
  • A little caster sugar for rolling the marzipan

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease your baking tin with margarine and line the base and outer sides with baking parchment.

Weigh a large bowl, then into it add the butter, sugar, flour, almonds, baking powder, eggs and both extracts. With an electric whisk, mix for 5-6 minutes until well combined, smooth and pale.

Weigh the bowl again and calculate the weight of the mix by taking off the bowl weight. Separate the mixture into halves, adding one half to another bowl.

Add one colouring gel to one mix and the other to the other! Start with about half a teaspoon of gel, mix with a metal spoon and judge the depth of colour, you can always add more.

Pour the mixtures into the baking tin, with two troughs of one colour and two troughs of another. Smooth the surfaces a little, then bake for 20-25 minutes. Note that if you’re doing the ‘double mix’ with one colour in standard tins, cooking time will be around 5 minutes longer. Test with a skewer to check the inside is baked, remove from the oven and cool in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

If the sponge has pushed above the top of the tin, take a sharp knife and cut across the top edges of the tin to create a flat surface. Carefully remove the sponges from the tin and leave on the rack to cool completely.

When ready, spread the caster sugar over a work surface. Place the block of marizpan on the sugar and gently roll with a rolling pin until it’s a rectangle around 2-3mm thick. It should be wider than the length of the sponges and tall enough to wrap round the sponges with extra to seal.

Gently warm the jam in a saucepan until runny. Brush around two thirds of it on the marzipan. Place one sponge on the marzipan and brush a little jam on one side. But a different colour sponge next to this, pushing against the side you’ve jammed. Brush more jam on top of the two placed sponges. Repeat with the other sponges, ensuring you alternate the colours!

Roll the marzipan around the sponges. Brush jam on the ‘join’ to ensure the two ends stick over each other, you should have an overlap of around 1cm.

That’s it – enjoy! And look out for my nut free chocolate & orange version which I’ll be doing as a Christmas special!

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