Battenburg Cake with Homemade Marzipan

Battenburg Cake with Homemade Marzipan

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This summer I made Battenburg Cake with Homemade Marzipan for the first time. It was also the first time I’d ever eaten it. And it was delicious! Possibly my very favorite tea cake to date! Flavored with almond and strawberry, the checkerboard cake is then blanketed in homemade marzipan, holding everything together with yummy deliciousness.

Serving Battenburg Cake at a Tea Party

Marzipan is quite lovely. I use it every year when I make my Christmas Stollen Recipe. But if you don’t want to make your own marzipan, feel free to Buy Some Here, already made and ready to roll. You’ll save a few steps that way, although it might cost you a pretty penny.

I always thought making a Battenburg Cake would be really difficult. But instead, it’s more a process of building something wonderful. Like building a tower out of blocks or even laying bricks. In this recipe, you’ll find yourself measuring strips of cake and cutting each to length so that everything fits together. Then you’ll bind the pieces together with a tasty apricot jam, to form a checkered cake, kind of like a painted glass window in a church. It’s really quite fun!

What is a Battenburg Cake?

Once again, I’m diving into English history to learn about tea cakes. Battenburg Cake apparently was first created in 1884 as a wedding cake for Princess Victoria (granddaughter of Queen Victoria) and her husband Prince Louis, a member of the Battenberg family. Giving a nod to both England and Germany, it’s traditionally made from yellow and pink sponge cake in a checkerboard pattern, then rolled in a layer of marzipan, which not only holds it together, but also keeps it nice and moist, and give it a delicious almond flavor. After eating a piece or two, I’m a fan, as are our daughters! If you’d care to learn more, feel free to visit this Food Historian Blog, where the author goes far deeper into the history of the Battenburg Cake.

 

Ingredients for Battenburg Cake with Homemade Marzipan

(See full recipe at the bottom of this post.)

Cake Batter

  • butter, softened
  • baker’s sugar (very fine sugar)
  • large eggs (4 of them)
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • strawberry jam (to color the pink layers)

Cake Filling (Binder or Glue)

  • apricot preserves
  • water

Marzipan

  • almond paste
  • powdered sugar
  • extra-large egg white
  • lemon juice
  • almond extract
  • food grade dried rose petals for decoration (optional)

 

Instructions for This Recipe

Ingredients for this Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.

Line two 7-inch square baking pans with waxed paper. Spray bottom and sides with baking spray.

I only had 9-inch pans, so I used those, which made my cake not quite “square”.  If you have 7 or even 8 inch square baking pans, please use them! 

Line Pans with Baking Strips for Even Baking

I also used Cake Baking Strips, which helped my cakes to bake evenly without getting a dome in the middle. Simply wet the strips then place them around your cake pan. They are a marvelous tool for your kitchen if you plan to do much cake baking.

 

 

Prepare the Cake Batter

In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and extra-fine baker’s sugar. Cream together. Add the large eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between additions. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Whisk Together the Flour Ingredients

In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour to the creamed mixture, just to combine.

Divide the batter into two equal parts and place one in a small bowl. Add strawberry jam to one, mixing well until the batter is completely pink.

Spread each batter into a prepared square pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean.

Remove Baked Cakes from Pans and Cool on Wire Racks

Allow the cakes to set for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When baking cakes, I like to line the bottom of the pans with waxed paper for easy cake removal from the pan. Simply use the bottom edge of the pan as a pattern and mark with a pencil or pen onto a piece of waxed paper. Then cut it out and place it inside the pan you are using. Spray with baking spray as usual. Voila! No more split or broken cakes when you turn them out of the pan!

 

Make the Marzipan

In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond paste (crumbled or chopped into pieces) and powdered sugar. Mix together on low speed until it is sandy in texture.

Add in beaten egg white, lemon juice, and almond extract. Mix together until combined.

Almond paste is available at most grocery stores in the baking isle. If you prefer, you may make your own almond paste with almond flour, powdered sugar, and water. 

Knead the marzipan by hand on a counter or table lightly covered in powdered sugar until smooth. Divide into two equal halves and cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist. This will make 15 oz.

 

**While risks are low, consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish, and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.

 

 

Assemble the Cake

Trim edges from each cake as necessary. Cut the white almond cake into four equal strips. Do the same for the pink strawberry cake. Trim all eight strips so they are the same length and size.

If possible, the desired strips should be as wide as the cake is thick. Use a ruler to measure the pieces if necessary.

Place apricot preserves and water in a medium bowl. Heat in microwave for 20-30 seconds and stir to combine.

Spread the apricot preserves on the sides to “glue” one pink and one white cake strip together. Press gently to adhere the two. Then spread jam on the top of this bottom level.

Assemble the Cake Strips to Create a Checkerboard Square

After that, place a white strip on top of the pink bottom, followed with a pink strip on top of the white bottom, “gluing” them together with jam in the center to form a checkerboard pattern. Repeat with the second cake.

Spread the apricot preserves to cover all sides of both cakes, leaving the ends uncovered.

 

Line Cakes with Marzipan

Roll Each Half of Marzipan to Fit Each Cake

Once you have the cakes assembled, it’s time to roll the marzipan. Place one half of marzipan on a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Roll to 1/8″ thick, long enough to fit the length of the cake, and wide enough to cover all four sides, adding extra for pinching together.  You will leave the ends of the cake uncovered.

As mentioned before, use a ruler to help with the calculations, if needed.

Place Cake on Rolled Out Marzipan

Carefully transfer one cake within an inch of one end of the marzipan.

Carefully Roll the Marzipan around the Cake

Using the parchment paper as an aid, lift the marzipan up along one side, then carefully roll the cake until it is completely wrapped in marzipan, smoothing with your hands and gently pressing to adhere as you go. Pinch to seal along the edge. Trim the front and back as needed.

Decorate the Marzipan Top with Crisscross Pattern

If desired, you may mark the ten slices on top using a knife, or create a crisscross design on the top of the cake for decoration. Sprinkle the top with dried roses for a garnish.

Repeat these assembly steps for the second cake. Chill for at least two hours before serving.

Serve Battenburg Cake at your next Tea Party or Celebration

This recipe makes two cakes and will serve up to 20 people. To serve, slice cakes into 1″ pieces with a sharp knife.

To store the Battenburg cakes, cover tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container for up to three weeks in a refrigerator or freeze for up to three months.

See more Cake Recipes Here. Browse Tea Party Ideas Here.

 

Recipe for Battenburg Cake with Homemade Marzipan

Battenburg Cake with Homemade Marzipan

This decorative sponge cake will please everyone at your next tea party, flavored with almond and strawberries and blanketed in homemade marzipan that tastes incredible!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: English
Keyword: Almond Flour, Apricot Glaze, Checkerboard Cake, Church Window Cake, Marzipan, Tea Cake
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Servings: 20

Equipment

Rolling Pin
Waxed Paper
Square Baking Pan
Cake Baking Strips

Ingredients

Cake Batter

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup baker's sugar very fine sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam (for pink layer)

Cake Filling

  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 4 tablespoons water

Marzipan

  • 12 oz almond paste
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 x-large egg white
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons dried rose petals (food grade) - for decoration

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.
    Line two 7 or 8 inch square baking pans with waxed paper. Spray bottom and sides with baking spray. Line outside of pans with baking strips, if desired.

Prepare the Cake Batter

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and baker's extra fine sugar. Cream together.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between additions. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  • In a small bow, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour to the creamed mixture, just to combine.
  • Divide the batter into two equal parts and place one in a small bowl. Add strawberry jam to one, mixing well until the batter is completely pink.
  • Spread each batter into a prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to set for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Marzipan

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond paste (crumbled or chopped into pieces) and powdered sugar. Mix together on low speed until it is sandy in texture.
  • Add in beaten egg white, lemon juice, and almond extract. Mix together until combined.
  • Hand knead on a counter or table lightly covered in powdered sugar until smooth. Divide into two equal halves and cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist. This will make 15 oz.

Assemble the Cake

  • If needed, trim edges from each cake. Cut the white almond cake into four equal strips. Do the same for the pink strawberry cake. Trim all eight strips so they are the same length and size.
    (If possible, the desired strips should be as wide as the cake is thick.)
  • Place apricot preserves and water in a medium bowl. Heat in microwave for 20-30 seconds and stir to combine.
  • Spread preserves on the sides to "glue" one pink and one white strip together. Press gently to adhere the two. Then spread the apricot jam onto the top of this bottom level.
  • Place a white strip on top of the pink bottom, followed with a pink strip on top of the white bottom, "gluing them together with jam in the center to form a checkerboard pattern. Repeat with the second cake.
  • Spread preserves to cover all sides of both cakes, leaving ends uncovered.

Cover Cakes with Marzipan

  • Once you have the cakes assembled, it's time to roll the marzipan. Place one half of marzipan on a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Roll to 1/8" thick, long enough to fit the length of the cake, and wide enough to cover all four sides, adding extra for pinching together. You leave the ends of the cake uncovered.
    If desired, use a ruler to help with the calculations.
  • Carefully transfer one cake within an inch of one end of the marzipan. Using the parchment paper as an aid, lift the marzipan up along one side, then carefully roll the cake until it is completely wrapped in marzipan, smoothing with your hands and gently pressing to adhere as you go.
    Pinch to seal along the edge. Trim front and back as needed.
  • If desired, you may mark the ten slices on top using a knife, or create a crisscross design on the top of the cake for decoration. Sprinkle the top with dried roses for a garnish.
  • Repeat these assembly steps for the second cake. Chill for at least two hours before serving. Slice into 1" pieces.
  • To store, cover both cakes tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container for up to three weeks in a refrigerator or freeze for up to three months.
  • This recipe makes two cakes and will serve up to 20 people.

Notes

*While risks are low, consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish, and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.
*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 183mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 362IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg
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