Battenburg Cake


I made a Battenburg cake! A “super simple” checkerboard cake held together with jam and wrapped in marzipan. It’s supposed to be a light, tea cake. It’s not super simple, but it’s not that bad. Not that this was a roaring success. Let’s see where I went wrong …


Starting off good. Made a seam. I’m pretty awesome.


Gettin’ kind of annoying because EVERYTHING has to be measured. (Mmm, but not the egg shells. The scale became a garbage holder later on in the process.)


First problem: I didn’t soften the butter enough. (Stupid lumps.)

Second problem: The almonds weren’t ground fine enough. (Stupid almond lumps.)

It’s going to be okay. I have the faith!

SONY DSCGo cakes GO!

SONY DSCRed is winning!

SONY DSCAll trimmed up and nowhere to go.

SONY DSCIs it just me, or does this picture of apricot jam look kind of romantic?

SONY DSCHa! Distance changed that.

SONY DSCThe most fun of the whole process was straining the jam. The directions were literally ‘push the jam through the strainer’. Done.

Rolling out the marzipan wasn’t nearly as fun.

SONY DSCIn fact, it caused a bit of a cake fail. No amount of “pressing together the edges” made this guy pretty.

SONY DSCBut my kind friends ate it anyway.

battenburg cake on Make A Gifmake animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

This wasn’t quite as easy as it sounded, but with some practice it might be. The first time was a definite pain. I think I’d make this cake again and again. I’m pretty sure it’ll get easier with practice. (Pie crusts were, why wouldn’t marzipan?) Next time I’ll try it with lemon and lime squares!

Battenburg Cake

Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours ; Bake Time: 25 minutes


For the cake:
6 oz softened butter, plus extra to grease the pan
6 oz superfine sugar (I used light brown sugar)
3 medium eggs
5 oz self-raising flour
1.7 oz ground almonds (I thought it was a little funny to write 1.7 oz. There are supposed to be 50 grams ground almonds.)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
red food coloring

To hold the cake together:
10 tbsp apricot jam

For the covering:
1 lb & 2 oz ready-made marzipan (almond paste)
2 – 3 tbsp powered sugar, for rolling


Getting things ready:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease 8 inch square pan with butter.

Take a 12in x 8in strip of parchment paper and make a 3in fold in the center. This creates the division you need to cook the different color sponge cakes at the same time. Line your pan with the parchment paper.

Now to the fun part:

Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds, and vanilla & almond extracts in a mixer until well combined.

Separate 1/2 the batter and color it red. (Since you want the same amount of each color, you can weigh the batter to get a more exact measurement. I did, but red still won.)

Spoon each 1/2 of the batter into its own side of your 8 inch pan.

Bake in the center of your oven for about 25 minutes, or until the sponges have risen. Cool in the tin for five minutes, then slide a knife around the outside of each sponge and turn them out onto a wire rack. If the sponges have risen unevenly, press the surface gently until level. Leave until completely cold.

Putting it together:

To assemble the cake, first place one sponge on top of the other and trim off the crusty edges so they are both the same size. Cut the sponges in half lengthways to make four long rectangles.

Warm the apricot jam in a saucepan then press through a fine sieve.

Brush the long side of one of the sponges with jam and sandwich together with a sponge of a contrasting color. Do the same with the other two sponges.

Sandwich the two pairs of sponges together like a checker board and brush the top and sides with jam.

Now the covering (a.k.a. the less fun part):

Place the marzipan on a surface dusted with powdered sugar and roll into a rectangle of about 40cm x 20cm (or 16in x 10in); it should be large enough to wrap the cake completely, leaving the ends exposed, and be about 5mm (or ┬╝in) thick.

Turn the cake upside down on the marzipan and brush the underside of the sponges with jam.

Wrap the marzipan around the cake, pressing it gently onto the surface of the sponges, and press the edges together to make a firm join.

Turn back over with the seam underneath, trim a thin slice off each end and place on a serving plate.

Adapted from BBC Good Food and BBC Food Recipes.

Baking Music: Be Okay by Oh Honey