I pulled this recipe out of a magazine months ago, planning to use it for #TastyTuesday. As I write this, the cake is cooling on the cooling rack and I am feeling very, very hungry and hoping it lives up to its wonderful aroma.
Battenberg cake is known for the pink and white checkerboard pattern of its interior. Apparently it has also been known in the past as Church Window Cake, Neapolitan Roll and Domino Cake. Sources say that it was called “Battenberg Cake” to honor the 1884 marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria, to Prince Louis of Battenberg, Germany. Battenberg is the family seat of the aristocratic Mountbatten family, which has close ties to today’s royal family. Those ties deserve their own book (or two) and more time, energy and interest than I personally have—and that history isn’t really relevant to this particular cake anyway. Whether you like history or not, this cake is worth a try.
200g/ 7 oz/ 1.75 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200 g/ 7 oz/ .75 cup +1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
200 g/ 7 oz / 1.75 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 level tsp baking powder
3/4 x 10 g tube pink food color gel (this is a tricky one to convert–if you have food color gel, great. If not, use food coloring to make the batter a nice pinky-rose color)
115 g/ 3.75 oz/ 7.5 tablespoons apricot jam*
icing sugar, for dusting
1 x 500g pack natural marzipan (about 1 pound)**
* This would be equally delicious with raspberry or strawberry jam.
** I am not fond of marzipan, so I used regular white icing in its place.
- Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180°C, 160°C fan, 350°F. Grease 2 loaf tins and line with baking paper.
- Beat the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well, then fold in the flour and baking powder. Transfer the mixture to a bowl on some kitchen scales, then weight out half and color with the pink gel/food coloring.
- Transfer the batter to the baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- When cool, trim the sides and top and cut each cake in half lengthwise. Use the jam to stick the long edge of one pink slice to one white slice. Spread the top of these with jam and place the other two cake halves on top, spreading the top with jam as well. (Note: because I didn’t use marzipan, I didn’t spread the top with jam—too messy.)
- If you are using marzipan, take a large rectangle of greaseproof/waxed paper/baking parchment and dust it with icing sugar. Roll out the marzipan onto the rectangle and then place the cake, jam side down, against the short edge of the marzipan. Brush the other sides of the cake with more jam and roll the cake in the marzipan. (You don’t put the marzipan on the ends, just around the length of the cake.) Dust with icing sugar before serving.
And that, my friends, is a Battenberg cake. Enjoy!
PS: It was delicious.