Cakes fit for the Queen: Classic Battenburg 

Throwing a party for Her Majesty’s official 90th birthday? These creations from Royal Wedding cake maker Fiona Cairns will make it go with a bang

One of the nation's best loved cakes and with this recipe it's not very hard to see why

One of the nation’s most loved cakes, named for the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Victoria – Prince Philip’s grandmother – and Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. 

British members of the family changed the name to Mountbatten in 1917 because of anti-German feeling during World War I.

Serves 6-8

  • 175g (6oz) unsalted butter, really soft, plus extra to grease the tin
  • 175g (6oz) self-raising flour
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1-2tbsp milk
  • Pink (or red) food colouring
  • 4tbsp apricot jam
  • Icing sugar, to dust
  • 250g (9oz) shop-bought marzipan

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Butter a 20cm (8in) square cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Cut a rectangular strip of parchment about 30cm x 20cm (12in x 8in), to make the divider between the 2 sponge colours so they can be cooked at the same time. Lay it flat and then pinch up a pleat in the centre, which should be about 8cm (3in) high. Place it in the bottom of the tin with the pleat standing up, dividing the tin in half.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, then add the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until just combined, then stir in the milk. 

Weigh the batter and place half in one side of the tin, then add the food colouring to the other half, stir and spoon into the other side of the tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake springs back to the touch or a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Level the top surfaces if necessary and slice each colour in half lengthways to make 2 equal strips. Trim the edges to neaten. You will have 4 equal lengths of cake – 2 pink and 2 natural. Warm the jam in a pan and sieve to remove lumps. 

Use the jam to sandwich together 1 pink and 1 yellow strip of cake, lengthways, then more jam to sandwich the other layers on top, alternating the colours for a chequerboard effect. Dust your worktop with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to a rectangle the length of the cake and wide enough to wrap around all 4 sides. 

Brush with jam, place the cake on top and wrap the marzipan around, pressing to seal the join. Turn over so the join is hidden, trim off any excess and score a criss-cross pattern on top.





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