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Sunday 23rd April 2006

St. George’s Day Battenberg Cake

What's for pud
Battenberg Cake is!!

When Becks and Posh and Jamfaced invited us to celebrate by making a traditional English pudding, dessert or sweet, I couldn’t resist.

However, then Sam proceeded to list ALL the English Puddings and baked sweets that are known to mankind, and with me being me, that meant I couldn’t use any of them! I had to go one better, and since I don’t like being prompted, I HAD to think up one she hadn’t listed … not an easy task with her very extensive list!

However, in the end I managed it!

Battenberg Cake

Battenberg cake is a popular commercially produced cake in England. It consists of four square lengths of a butter cake or sponge cake. Two lengths are coloured pink and two left plain yellow, they are stuck together with apricot jam, so when you slice into it there is a checker board cross-section. The two tones are believed to mimic the marbled effect of many German breads and cakes. Finally a sheet of almond paste is wrapped around the outside.

Battenberg cake is originally thought to have been created in the late 19th century, although the first recorded mention of the cake was in 1903. It has been suggested that it was perhaps named to commemorate the marriage between Princess Victoria of Hessee-Darmstadt, granddaughter of Queen Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. Prince Louis later took British nationality and Anglicized his name to Mountbatten.

Battenberg Cake Slice

  • Battenberg Cake
  • 150 grams of butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cups of white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of plain white flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of milk, approximately
  • red food colouring
  • 1/4 cup of apricot jam
  • 250 grams of almond paste / fondant to cover
  1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degC.
  2. Line sponge roll or shallow square cake tin with baking paper.
  3. Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder and fold into the creamed mixture.
  6. Add sufficent milk to give a soft dropping consistency.
  7. Spoon half the mixture into one half of the prepared tin as neatly as possible.
  8. Add a few drops of red food colouring to the remaining mixture to turn it a pink colour, then spoon this into the other half of the tin, try to get the join between the two mixtures as neat as possible.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is well risen, springy to the touch and has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin.
  10. Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  11. Trim the edges of the cake and then cut into 4 equal strips down the length of the colours.
  12. Gently heat the apricot jam in a small pan and stick the stripes of cake together,
    one plain piece next to one coloured one, and then vice versa to make a checker board effect.
  13. Brush the top of the assembled cake with apricot jam.
  14. Roll out the almond paste into a rectangle the length of the cake and sufficiently wide to wrap around the cake.
  15. Invert the cake on to the almond paste, then brush the remaining 3 sides with apricot jam.
  16. Press the almond paste neatly around the cake, arranging the join in one corner.
  17. Serve in slices

St George Day Battenberg

In honour of St. George’s Day celebration, I also played around with the two colours to create a cross-section of the English flag - the St. George cross!


Filed under Food Blog Events, Cakes


  1. Happy St. George’s Day, Bron!

    You have outdone yourself. I’d never heard of nor seen Battenberg cake and it sounds intriguing. I love how so many desserts were first created to please national figures like Kings and Queens! It looks beautiful. As always your photos are stunning!

    Ivonne — Monday 24th April 2006 2:51 am

  2. Ha ha ha . Well - I couldn’t list them all - I had to keep some for myself! Actually I am the same as you and i dont like being prompted either, so I was trying to think of somethings not on my own list. I absolutely LOVE Battenburg cake because I am a marzipan freak. This was on the possibilities for my teaparty today but at the last minute I dropped it off the list, because as you might imagine my list ws rather ambitious. I would never have thought of something so brilliant as you did though. That is the best idea ever - to put the flag in the cake. Sheer and Utter Brilliance beyond the call of duty. You have done my country proud. Now, I ah better get baking…

    Bron You a a Genius!

    sam — Monday 24th April 2006 3:14 am

  3. Wow! Very impressive, and pretty too! I love the thought of almond paste, melting in my mouth… Delicious.

    faith — Monday 24th April 2006 6:44 am

  4. Bron, I love the touch with the St. George cross — very well done.

    I’d never heard of this cake before this post, but it looks very good (I have to admit, I’m not a huge marzipan fan), especially the apricot jam.

    rob — Monday 24th April 2006 10:51 am

  5. Awesome - my mum loves this cake and now I have a recipe! Love the special St. George’s Day version.

    Catherine — Monday 24th April 2006 11:09 am

  6. Wow Bron, you are brilliant! This looks so playful and so nice! I want to try this now!!!!

    Bea at La Tartine Gourmande — Monday 24th April 2006 12:19 pm

  7. Thanks heaps Ivonne, it is a beautiful cake, although I’m generally not very keen to use food colouring, unfortunately there seems little way around it in this recipe.

    Hehe Sam, your teaparty looks divine, so many tempting treats there.
    This is only my second time making Battenberg cake, I made it the first time last year for a traditional afternoon tea for my English born mother-in-law, who sadly passed away from Alzheimer’s disease recently.

    Thank you Faith, it’s a very pretty feminine looking cake for sure.

    Yes Rob, must say I got quite excited when I thought up the St. George Cross idea and did a little happy dance when it worked out.

    Thanks Catherine, my Mum loves Battenberg cake too, it sure is a real “Mums cake”, would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift!

    bron — Monday 24th April 2006 12:40 pm

  8. Thank you so much Bea!
    Come on over, and I’ll cut you a slice!

    bron — Monday 24th April 2006 12:49 pm

  9. Well, I have only made it once in my life - and that was probably over 20 years ago, but next time I make it for sure it is going to get the flag treatment and YOU, Bron, are going to get all the credit!

    sam — Monday 24th April 2006 4:29 pm

  10. Beautiful! You have a wonderful site. Just discovered it.

    Fran — Tuesday 25th April 2006 2:07 am

  11. Bron,

    Well done!

    kevin — Wednesday 26th April 2006 10:18 am

  12. Totally Brilliant! I LOVE Battenburg cake. And to make it al a St. George is beyond brilliant! You are so clever.

    Aunti P from Sylvie's — Friday 28th April 2006 1:44 pm

  13. OOOHHH I love this cake, but it costs so much to have someone ship it over from england— now I will learn to make it!

    Megan — Saturday 29th April 2006 7:18 pm

  14. I love this cake and so does my daughter and when i decided to make one i couldn’t find the marzipan anywhere any suggestions?

    Anita — Thursday 27th July 2006 8:54 am

  15. Can’t get this cake in Michigan (USA). My wife and I had it at my Mothers in Cardiff,UK and my wife loved it.
    But now we can make it at home, Thanks and keep up the good work.

    Paul — Sunday 24th September 2006 8:50 am

  16. I first heard of battenberg cake from my friend Ken from Wales. I thank him for introducing me. It is a delicious dessert. My wife and son also love it. We like the colors in it and the almond paste. Hope to keep on finding things like this through you.

    Jorge — Wednesday 25th October 2006 4:36 am

  17. I, too, love this cake and have eaten it for many years. Used to buy it in Marks & Spencer when they had a place in Montreal, which, sadly, is long gone.
    I came across this site whilst doing research for the recipe. My mother, being Scottish-born (along with the rest of us!)and having emigrated to Canada in 1957, collected British recipes for years from various magazines sent to us, and I can remember from when I was a child seeing a particular recipe for it along with a photo…I can no longer find it, and my mother having Alzheimer is now in a nursing home. My father and I are also Marzipan crazy and I cannot wait to try it out! Great site, too!

    june — Wednesday 3rd January 2007 6:49 am

  18. I like to know you have short time cake courses. If you have I like to join it.
    Thank you.

    Renuka Udawattha — Tuesday 13th March 2007 4:56 pm

  19. Thank you for this reminder of my English childhood. My husband and I were just having a little argument about the colours - he was sure he’d seen it in brown,pink and yellow, in the same cake, I was sure it was always pink and yellow, so we were delighted to find that you didn’t feel yourself bound by tradition!

    Nancy Hanson, Canberra — Monday 19th March 2007 5:52 pm

  20. […] St George’s Day Battenberg Cake […]

    This Time Last Year - St George’s Day Battenberg Cake — Monday 23rd April 2007 9:25 pm

  21. I live in the U.S. but was born in England and grew up eating this cake. I’m happy to have a recipe for it, and plan to to make it for my Mum and Dad. It will also be a great addition to a “Cultural Extravaganza” lunch we are having at work!

    If you are having trouble getting the marzipan, try the service deli section of your local grocery store (the Stop & Shop chain in New England carries it). It is sold under the name “almond paste” and comes to the store in giant cans. Usually, store personnel cut off one-pound chunks, bag and pre-price it for your convenience. The easiest time to find almond paste is at Christmas and Easter, when a lot of recipes demand it and people are looking for it. Another good place to try to buy it is at small, independent Italian grocery/deli stores, where it also comes in bulk. Good luck everyone!

    Karen — Friday 4th April 2008 7:41 am

  22. This cake is very beautiful. I like it and children’s too. Thank you for sharing. I wish you always happy.

    Nguyen Huyen — Monday 15th June 2009 1:47 am

  23. Oh lala!Like 4 petits fours together..I just printed it up..So pretty! Thank You!

    Monique — Saturday 27th June 2009 12:03 pm

  24. I’d never heard of this cake but I love the looks of it. What a surprise cutting into it.

    ciaochowlinda — Saturday 27th June 2009 12:52 pm

  25. Very pretty cake, and so nicely done–both versions! It looks delicious too.

    lisaiscooking — Sunday 28th June 2009 10:37 am

  26. Nyum nyum nyum - absolutely delicious! Battenburg cake is my favourite.

    Virgilio Anderson

    Virgilio Anderson — Monday 29th June 2009 1:30 am

  27. Hi - I made this last night and it was great! I replaced the vanilla extract with some almond extract, as almonds really capture the essence of Battenburg cake for me. Great website, thanks!

    Kayvie — Tuesday 7th July 2009 11:53 pm

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