Battenburg Cake

This chequered sponge is said to have first been baked to celebrate Prince Louis of Battenburg's marriage to Princess Victoria in 1884.

Serves: 6

Preparation: 20 minutes + 1–2 hours setting and cooling. Baking time: 25–30 minutes


  • 225g Butter or Margarine, softened
  • 225g Caster Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 225g Self-raising Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • Red Food Colouring
  • Raspberry or Apricot Jam
  • 225g Marzipan
  • Icing Sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease two 900g (2lb) loaf tins and baseline with non-stick baking parchment or greased greaseproof paper.
  3. Cream the butter or margarine and sugar together and beat in the eggs.
  4. Sieve the flour and baking powder together, fold into the mixture and mix to a dropping consistency, adding a little hot water if necessary.
  5. Put half the mixture into one of the prepared tins.
  6. Add a couple of drops of red food colouring to the remaining mixture to make it pale pink and put it into the second tin.
  7. Bake for 25–30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out on to a wire rack.
  9. When cold, trim the cakes and cut two lengths from each one, each approximately 3 cm square.
  10. Spread the pieces with jam and stick the four lengths together, the colours alternating.
  11. Wrap in greaseproof paper very tightly and leave for an hour or two.
  12. Spread the outside of the cake with jam.
  13. Roll out the marzipan in a little icing sugar to oblong the same width as the cake and long enough to wrap around.
  14. Place the cake on the marzipan and wrap it around the cake, pressing it neatly and arranging the join in one lower corner.
  15. If you wish, crimp the edge and mark the top with a criss-cross pattern.
  16. Wrap the cake in paper again and keep for 3–4 hours in a cool place before eating.

This recipe is from Vintage Tea Time published by Simon & Schuster in 2012.