Battenberg cake

Battenberg cake

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(17 ratings)

Prep: 2 hrs Cook: 1 hr


Makes 2 cakes, each cuts into 10 slices
Sarah Cook's traditional Battenberg cake is a delicious project for an afternoon in the kitchen

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal524
  • fat25g
  • saturates10g
  • carbs71g
  • sugars61g
  • fibre2g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.5g
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For almond sponge

  • 175g very soft butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 3 medium egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract


    arr-mund or al-mund

    Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…

For pink sponge

  • 1 x ingredients for almond sponge


    arr-mund or al-mund

    Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…

  • pink food colouring, we used ½ tsp Squires rose food paste

To assemble

  • 200g apricot jam
  • 2 x 500g blocks white marzipan



    One of mankind’s oldest sources of sweet pleasure, marzipan needs to contain only ground…

  • little icing sugar, for dusting


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line the base and sides of a 20cm square tin with baking parchment (the easiest way is to cross 2 x 20cm-long strips over the base). To make the almond sponge, put the butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and almond extract in a large bowl. Beat with an electric whisk until the mix comes together smoothly. Scrape into the tin, spreading to the corners, and bake for 25-30 mins – when you poke in a skewer, it should come out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling while you make the second sponge.

  2. For the pink sponge, line the tin as above. Mix all the ingredients together as above, but don’t add the almond extract. Fold in some pink food colouring. Then scrape it all into the tin and bake as before. Cool.

  3. To assemble, heat the jam in a small pan until runny, then sieve. Barely trim two opposite edges from the almond sponge, then well trim a third edge. Roughly measure the height of the sponge, then cutting from the well-trimmed edge, use a ruler to help you cut 4 slices each the same width as the sponge height. Discard or nibble leftover sponge. Repeat with pink cake.

  4. Take 2 x almond slices and 2 x pink slices and trim so they are all the same length. Roll out one marzipan block on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to just over 20cm wide, then keep rolling lengthways until the marzipan is roughly 0.5cm thick. Brush with apricot jam, then lay a pink and an almond slice side by side at one end of the marzipan, brushing jam in between to stick sponges, and leaving 4cm clear marzipan at the end. Brush more jam on top of the sponges, then sandwich remaining 2 slices on top, alternating colours to give a checkerboard effect. Trim the marzipan to the length of the cakes.

  5. Carefully lift up the marzipan and smooth over the cake with your hands, but leave a small marzipan fold along the bottom edge before you stick it to the first side. Trim opposite side to match size of fold, then crimp edges using fingers and thumb (or, more simply, press with prongs of fork). If you like, mark the 10 slices using the prongs of a fork.

  6. Assemble second Battenberg and keep in an airtight box or well wrapped in cling film for up to 3 days. Can be frozen for up to a month.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (46)

marychef's picture

Just made this as I fancied a project. It's looking a little rough and nowhere near as neat as the photo but I'm quite pleased with it. It tastes nice and looks okay for a first attempt. The recipe was really easy. I added some strawberry flavouring to the pink one and sandwiched it with strawberry jam. Not entirely sure what will happen when I cut it tho'. I fear it may fall apart.

reenie2015's picture

Its better using home made marzipan. Made one similar to this but the squares were chocolate and vanilla with hazelnut chocolate in place of jam and hazelnut marzipan.

Shimoldeam's picture

Perfect! Everyone who tried it has put in an order for more!

DanandAsh's picture

I made this over the weekend for mothers day it was great,,, the first one i constructed i tried constructing on the serving board as had read a few comments about the marzipan sticking to the surface .. it never did for me so the second i made on the work surface and found it stable enough to pick up and put onto the serving board... lovely and most inside and my mom who doesn't like marzipan, said it was delicious she loved it.

lorib's picture

came across this on pintrest. i don't own a scale so i made a scratch white cake and did the food coloring an apricot jam and since i also didn't have marzipan - i made homemade marshmallow fondant . came out great ! and received rave reviews at church.

wilshiresal's picture

If you are not vegetarian cochenille is still the best and stable colouring for the pink.

chrisjs's picture

Beautiful flavour - but a bit fidderly first time round - allow plent of time if making for something special.

rebeccagatward's picture

The marzipan absorbs all the icing sugar while you're assembling it and then won't lift up. You need loads of icing sugar under the marzipan. And you need to get gel food colouring that is bake safe. And you need to put loads of jam in so it sticks together.
I made this as a practice and it was such a disaster I'm never making battenberg again. Ever.

keeleynorris's picture

Making this at the moment and have just read my food colouring bottle which states 'not bake stable' I guess that's why a lots of people have ended us with pale cakes. Check the bottle.

nuffinbuttrouble's picture

Lovely. Love the fact that the recipe makes two cake. Froze one of them, portioned, ready for lunch boxes. Recipe was easy to follow and came out perfectly. Used a whole teaspoon of pink food colouring and pink came out perfectly x

ell_bro's picture

where it says 'for the keen cook' it really means it... it is NOT something you can just throw together for pudding for the family (which is what i tried to do) it tastes fine but unless you're really into the arty side of baking it's far too tricky and boring!

Maia's picture

Why would you even think it is a throw together recipe? Any cake that requires some assembly is going to take time.

last edited: 12:17, 15th Jul, 2013
peggy33's picture

Going to make one tomorrow, my late Mam used to make this cake and called it a russian layer cake and have her tin with the divider up the middle- she coverd up the ends also and we used to row over who the the end bits!!!

camille4angel's picture

Good recipe but I did end up searching for some videos on how to cover it neatly in the marzipan, which is easy enough just takes time. It also makes a lot of cake, in fact I made half the amount and ended up making one and a half cakes... although it went very fast so I probably should of made the full amount! It's a shame buying marzipan is expensive.

halcyondays's picture

Hi Camille
Not sure if you can get it in the UK, but peach meal makes a good cheaper substitute for almond meal. It is made from peach kernela and you can get it from specialist cake shops

georgie77's picture

I tired this recipe yesterday. The cakes are delicious but the food colouring cooked off. How can I ensure that I get the pink cake, Pink.

nuclearpenguin's picture

I made this a couple days ago as my brother in law loves Battenberg. I must say, it went down a total treat. I didn't have the correct size tin so I used a loaf tin and that worked okay. I could only make one large Battenberg with this and I used one 500g pack to cover it up and I had some left over at the end I used for decoration.

However the end result was delicately flavoured and gorgeous. It was given the seal of approval my family and the girlfriends family, plus my brother in law, sister, an three kids.

Defiantly will make this again.

rmellor18's picture

I used natural food colouring which turned the cake orange rather than pink when baked, but still looked nice and tasted yummy.

jen_02's picture

Fantastic! Require a lot of patience and precision to get it looking perfect but well worth it and anyone can do it. Homemade marzipan really makes it a show-stopper. I made the orange and lemon version and everybody loved it. I added a little colouring to the orange but not quite enough so the difference in the colour was negligible, it didn't matter but it's part of the fun of battenberg.

rachie_k's picture

10/10 - Watch out Mr Kipling! Found this recipe easy to follow, and the cakes even easier to eat! Went down a storm with the family even those who said they didn't like marzipan loved it.


Questions (1)

DGZ's picture

I was wondering if it may be possible to make this with a twist, maybe using a lemon and poppy seed as opposed to the pink and almond. How would you edit it? Swap lemon juice for the almond extract? How much poppy seed would you add as well?

Thanks in advance!

Tips (1)

mariella71's picture

Hello,this morning I have tried this recipe and I must say that this is one of the best Battenburg recipe ever!I have used just one amount of recipe and weighed it.Then I halved it and I have put red jel in one bowl ,about 11/2 teaspoon and in the other half a little almond essence.I used a 20 cm square tin which I halved with baking paper and put the cake batter in each side. In minutes the cake was ready.I used shop bought Marzipan and it came perfect.I am very pleased and will do it more often as the texture is very light and soft.Thankyou Sarah Cook for this recipe!

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