Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The life and times of a Bake-o-holic: Battenberg Cake

Hello, my name is Kate and I'm a Bake-O-Holic.

There we go, I've said it.

I'm thinking, planning, dreaming and of course eating many a cake and bake at the moment. And as these celebratory days of Easter-to-the-Royal Wedding continue to roll on, this little blog of mine is on fire with new recipes. Literally smouldering in sweet stuff... A blooming great bonfire of baking... An inferno of icing sugar. These metaphors could go on and on as I'm sure you can imagine but I will save you from monotony-by-metaphor and put a stop to them right there.

And as a newbie to this blogging lark, rather than sensibly save up the recipes for those rainy days where  (whisper it) I may not feel like baking, I'm piling them all on the blog. Just like I used to pile on all those hundreds and thousands on fairy cakes when I was a kid.

So to the cake. Legend (well, Wikipedia) has it that Battenberg Cake was created for Queen Victoria's Granddaughter's wedding to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. The four squares of the cake represent the four Battenberg princes: Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph.

With its royal connections Battenberg Cake was a shoo-in for celebrating this week's Royal Wedding. The recipe is from Fiona Cairn's lovely, lovely book: 'Bake and Decorate'

Battenberg Cake


175g unsalted, softened butter
175g self-raising flour
half a teaspoon of baking powder
175g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp milk (may be required)
Pink or red food colouring
4 tbsp apricot jam, warmed in a small saucepan and sieved
Icing sugar to dust
250g yellow marzipan

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/fan 160C/Gas Mark 3 and a half
2. Lightly butter a 20cm square tin and line the base with baking parchment
3. Cut out a rectangle of baking parchment, as long and as deep as the tin to act as a divider lengthways between the two colours of sponge
4. Sift together the flour and baking powder
5. Add the butter, cut into small squares, and sugar, eggs and vanilla
6. Beat all the ingredients until smooth, adding a little of the milk if the mixture seems to be stiff
7. Weigh out half the batter into one side of the tin
8. Tint the other half of the mixture pink and stir until nicely blended. Add this to to other side of the tin

9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake springs back to touch
10. Leave in the tin for a few moments before turning out to cool completely on a wired rack
11. When cooled, slice each colour lengthways into two equal blocks, then trim off the rough edges

12. Use the warmed and sieved jam to glue to strips of cake lengthways, allowing the yellow and pink strips to form opposite quarters. Brush the remaining jam all over the cake
13. Dust a work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan into a rectangle the length of the cake and wide enough to wrap around all four sides.
14. Warp the marzipan around the cake
15. Seal the join by gently pressing it together
16. Trim the ends to neaten and score a criss-cross on the top surface
17. Dust with a light sprinkling of icing sugar

Baker's notes...

  • Next time I make it, I reckon it would be worth grabbing a ruler and measuring out the size of the cake before rolling out the marzipan. When I tried it without measuring it took a couple of re-rolls of the marzipan to get the correct size, which was a bit of a faff
  • I used approx ten drops of Dr Oetker food colouring, but its worth adding a drop of colouring one at a time and stirring each few drops in regularly to ensure you don't end up with too bright a pink colour
  • For variety on the pink theme, you could make a chocolate Battenburg, substituting the pink food colouring for a chocolate cake mix


  1. Well you made a better job of yours than I did of mine. I used Bake & Decorate as a base for Battenberg too.

  2. I've seen it somwhere in Poland this week. Looks delicious.

  3. Thank you very much for visiting the blog Kublek, thats good to hear the Battenberg travels well! Did you try some?

  4. That's really kind Choclette- I think your's looks brilliant too, I love the idea of chocolate and green tea. I should have been way more interesting and adventurous with mine, I've been inspired!

  5. wow looks fabulous! You really are very productive! puts me to shame.

  6. I'm not much of a baker myself but it seems like a very therapeutic exercise! That cake looks delicious


Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!