Despite it's German name, a Battenberg Cake is one of the most British cakes there is! It was first made back in 1884, althought it had more squares to it at first, and has since been simplified to the four squares we all recognise. The different coloured cake sponges are made at the same time, using a clever baking paper folding trick. Then they're brushed with apricot jam and wrapped in marzipan. It's a perfect cake to enjoy with a cup of tea!
How to make Battenberg Cake
First, line a 8" square baking tin with foil and baking paper. The foil helps to strengthen the middle section.
Mix the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix them in.
Next mix in self raising flour, then split the mixture in half and colour one half with pink food colouring. Put the two cake batters into separate sides of the cake tin.
Once the cake is baked, cut it up into four equal rectangles.
Roll out the marzipan and brush it with apricot jam, assemble the cake and wrap it in the marzipan.
Tips for making a Battenberg Cake:
- Embrace using a ruler when making this cake, having all the sponges measure the same really does pay off in the final result!
- You may think sieving the jam is a unecessary step, but again, it really is worth having lovely smooth jam for the final effect.
- You can freeze the Battenberg Cake if you wrap it well, for up to 3 months. The marzipan will be a bit sticky when you defrost it.
- I use Pro Gel food colouring for the pink side of the cake.
- Golden marzipan is traditional for a Battenberg, but you can also use natural marzipan too, or even homemade if you like!
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
- 8" Square tin
- Mixing bowls
- Cooling rack
- Kitchen scales
- Electric hand mixer
- Pink food colouring
- Silicone mat
- Rolling pin
- Silicone Brush
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For the cake
- 200 g Butter or baking spread
- 200 g Caster sugar
- 4 Eggs large
- 200 g Self raising flour
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Pink food colouring
For the filling and decoration
- 175 g Apricot jam
- 450 g Golden marzipan
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Pre-heat your oven to 150C Fan/165C/325F/Gas Mark 3
- Line an 8" square tin with a layer of foil covered with a layer of baking paper. Fold a crease about 3" tall in the centre of the paper to stop the two sponges from joining up
- Make the sponge by mixing the butter and caster sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer, or in a stand mixer for until fluffy. You can also mix by hand, but an electric mixer will give the best results
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and whisk until fully incorporated, again using an electric mixer
- Gently whisk in the self raising flour using a hand whisk, and whisk in until you can't see any flour anymore
- Split the batter in half and gently stir pink food colouring into one half of the batter until a light pink shade is achieved
- Pour the pink batter into one half of the tin, and the uncoloured batter into the other half
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave it to fully cool either in the tin or remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack
- Trim the golden crusts off both colours of cake and then cut into long rectangular strips. Use a ruler for accuracy
- Warm the apricot jam for 30 seconds in the microwave, then put it through a fine sieve
- Dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan onto it. Aim for a rectangle around 12" x 8" - it must be long enough to wrap around the cake
- Brush the marzipan with the apricot jam, then assemble the cake in the centre of the marzipan in a checkerboard pattern, brushing apricot jam between each cake
- Wrap the cake with the marzipan, let the marzipan overlap slightly and trim the rest off
- Trim the edges of the marzipan too, and then flip the cake over so the seal is on the bottom
- Use a cake decorating brush to brush off any icing sugar, then the cake is ready to serve!
- Serve immediately, store any leftover in an airtight container in a cool place and eat within 3 days. The marzipan will go sticky after a day or so