Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trio of Battenberg Cakes - Daring Bakers

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge!  She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.
Have you ever tasted a Battenberg cake? Ever even heard of it before? I wouldn't be surprised if the answer to both questions is "no". Battenberg is uniquely English.

Apparently, the first Battenberg cake was made to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria, to husband Prince Louis of Battenberg.

It’s traditionally flavoured with almond and has the signature Battenberg markings, that is, the yellow and pink squares (said to represent the four princes of Battenberg). The strips of sponge are glued together using jam (normally apricot) and the whole cake is covered in marzipan. Sometimes the edges are crimped and the top is patterned with a knife.

It is certainly stunning visually and the classic cake is delicious to taste as well. 

I made three versions of the Battenberg - traditional pink/yellow with almond flavouring, a walnut/coffee version and finally a chocolate/orange Battenberg. All were fantastic but I think the classic version was my favorite. The classic version is especially moist thanks to the jam. That said, the coffee/walnut Battenberg is great too - anything coffee is a hit in my books!

I do find the marzipan a little finicky so if you are worried about that you could use fondant instead as I did in my coffee/walnut and chocolate/orange versions. You'll need about the same amount of fondant or perhaps 1/4c more if you like it a bit thicker.

I have included the coffee/walnut version below and click here if you prefer the traditional version.

For the chocolate Battenberg I added two tbsp of cocoa to half the classic version and left out the almond flavouring. In the other half I added orange flavouring instead of almond. I also used a homemade chocolate ganache but any chocolate icing will do!

Recipe Source:

Great video of Mary Berry making this cake at end of post.
Coffee and Walnut Battenberg is also from Mary Berry on the BBC Food website

Coffee and Walnut Battenberg

Servings: +- 8


100gm /3.5 oz Unsalted Butter, softened & cut in cubes
100gm /3.5 oz Caster Sugar
100gm /3.5 oz Self-Raising Flour
2 Large Eggs, room temp
50gm /1-3/4 oz Ground Almonds (Can be substituted with ground rice)
½ tsp Baking Powder
3 tsp (15 ml) Milk
½ tsp (2½ ml) Vanilla Extract
1½ tsp (7½ ml) 7 gm Instant Coffee Powder or Granules
3 Tbsp / 25gm/1 oz Walnuts, roughly chopped


100g/3½oz icing sugar
40g/1½oz butter, softened
½ tsp instant coffee powder
1½ tsp milk

1 cup / 225gm /8 oz Marzipan, natural or yellow

What to do

1. Preheat oven to moderate 325°F/180°C/160°C Fan Assisted/Gas Mark 4

2. Grease an 8”/20cm square baking tin with butter

3.Cut out a piece of parchment paper that is 7.5cm/3in longer than the length of the tin. Fold the paper in half widthways. Open out the paper and push up the centre fold to make a 4cm/1½in pleat. Line the base of the tin with this, making any adjustments to ensure the pleat runs down the centre of the tin making in effect two rectangular 'tins' within the tin.

4. OR Prepare Battenberg tin by brushing the tin with melted butter and flouring

5. Whisk together dry ingredients (except walnuts and coffee) and combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl (except vanilla and milk) and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth

6. Spoon half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the vanilla, 1½ teaspoons milk and chopped walnuts

7. Spoon the walnut mixture into the one side of the prepared baking tin

8. Dissolve the coffee in the remaining 1½ teaspoon milk and add to the remaining batter, stir until just combined

9. Spoon the coffee batter into the other half of the prepared baking tin

10. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, making sure batter is in each corner

11. Bake for 25-30mins until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and a
toothpick comes out clean (it should shrink away from the sides of the pan)

12. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack

13. Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife

14. Cut each sponge in half lengthways so that you are left with four long strips of sponge

15. Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is as neat and even as possible

16. Combine the buttercream ingredients together and mix until combined

17. Spread a thin layer of buttercream onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern

18. Dust a large flat surface with icing sugar then roll the marzipan in an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap the cake 

19. Spread the top of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream

20. Place the cake on the marzipan, buttercream side down

21. Spread buttercream onto the remaining three sides

22. Press the marzipan around the cake, making sure the join is either neatly in the one corner, or will be underneath the cake once turned over

23. Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with a knife, you can also crimp the top corners with your fingers to decorate

24. Neaten the ends of the cake and remove excess marzipan by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern.

This is the video of Mary Berry making this cake. Watch it before you make it!


  1. WOW I'm so imressed you made 3 battenbergs. They all look fanatstic. You must be a pro now :)

  2. The colors are so lovely :) and the decoration too :)

  3. The colors are so lovely :) and the decoration too :)

  4. You have a lot of patience to make 3 of these cakes! They all look fantastic, but I'd really like to try the coffee-walnut one.

  5. Great job on this challenge! Super impressive that you made 3 different versions of the cake! I went with the coffee and walnut version and did indeed find the marzipan a little finicky to work with!

  6. Love that you made this three times- that is determination. They look lovely!
    Best, sandie