This cake is so sweet that it will melt even the coldest of critics! It is rumoured to have been created to celebrate the marriage of Princess Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenberg back in 1884. However the checkered design is often compared to the beautiful stained glass windows of ancient Cathedrals and Churches from as far back as the Dark ages. Whatever its origin, this baked beauty continues to captivate bakers all around the world, for its delightful flavour and pleasing presentation.
In our recipe we added a contemporary twist to this British Classic with the addition of cocoa powder and almond flour. Here’s the original recipe.
For this recipe, you will need:
30g unsalted butter
150g plain flour
5 medium eggs
150g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
5-6 Tbsp of apricot jam
Icing sugar, for dusting
8 inch Battenberg baking pan or a square or rectangular cake pan lined with parchment paper. Create a fold of parchment paper along the middle of the pan, so that you create 2 sections in the pan.
Yield: 8 inch cake
- Melt the butter over a low heat, then set aside.
- Sift the flour into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until they are pale, thick and greatly increased in volume; the mixture should be thick enough to leave a trail on the surface when the whisk is lifted. In three separate additions, sift the flour over the surface and fold it in with a large spatula, being careful not to deflate the mixture as much as possible. Drizzle the melted butter around the edge of the mixture and fold it in.
- Divide the mixture into two halves by transferring half the mixture to a separate bowl. Split the vanilla pod open lengthwise, scrape out the seeds into one of the bowls and fold them in. Then fold a drop of yellow food colouring into the vanilla mixture. Fold a drop of pink food colouring into the mixture in the second bowl to give a pale pink colour.
- Butter and flour a Battenberg baking pan and spoon the pink mixture into two of the sections and the yellow mixture into the other two. If using a rectangular or square baking pan, pour the pink batter on one side and the vanilla into the other section.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 325F for 20 minutes, until the sponge is well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool in the pan.
- Once the cake has cooled, remove from the pan and carefully trim the tops and edges so that you have 4 long blocks that are exactly the same size.
- Gently warm the apricot jam and strain though a fine sieve. Brush apricot jam along a long side of one pink and one yellow piece of sponge and place side by side, pressing them gently together so that they stick. Brush the tops with jam. Place the remaining pieces of sponge on top to create a chequerboard pattern, sticking them together with jam as before. Trim as necessary to shore up the sides.
- Dust a work surface with a little icing sugar and roll the marzipan out into a rectangle about 4mm thick. The width should be the same as the length of the cake and it should be long enough to wrap round it. Neaten the edges with a knife and brush the marzipan with the remaining warm jam.
- Place the cake at one end of the marzipan, right on the edge. Carefully roll it up, smoothing the marzipan gently as you continue to cover the rest of the cake. Trim away any surplus marzipan, making sure the join is well sealed. Place with the join underneath and brush off any icing sugar. Trim the short ends of the cake and the cake is ready to serve!