Peek-a-boo Battenberg cake

Peek-a-boo Battenberg cake

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(8 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 1 hr, 20 mins Cook: 1 hr Plus chilling

Skill level

For the keen cook

Servings

Makes a tall 18cm cake

A stunning rose and almond sponge in the distinctive checkered pattern, hidden in sweet marzipan icing

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freeze sponges only
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving (12)

kcalories
964
protein
13g
carbs
113g
fat
51g
saturates
22g
fibre
2g
sugar
89g
salt
1.1g

Ingredients

For the almond sponge

  • 225g very soft salted butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the rose sponge

  • 225g very soft salted butter
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rosewater
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • a little artificial pink food colouring (see tip, below)

To assemble and ice

  • jar of apricot jam
  • 1 tsp rosewater
  • a little icing sugar, for dusting
  • 2 x 500g packs white marzipan (you'll have trimmings, but better to have leftovers than leave yourself short)

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Method

  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line the base of 2 x 18cm round sandwich tins with baking parchment.
  2. Start with the almond sponge: put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until the mix comes together smoothly. Weigh the mixture and spread exactly half into each tin. Bake for 30 mins – when you poke a skewer into the middle, it should come out clean. Cool in the tins for 15 mins, then carefully turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling while you make the second sponge.
  3. Clean the tins, then grease and line as above. Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds, eggs, vanilla, rose water and milk as above. When smooth, beat in a little pink food colouring, bit by bit, until you get a nice colour – it will fade a little during baking, so you can go slightly stronger than you want the finished sponge. Weigh, divide between the tins and bake as above. Cool in the same way.
  4. Once the sponges are cool, cover gently and chill for 30 mins – this will make cutting them easier and neater.
  5. Unwrap the sponges and, if they have domed in the centre, trim to flatten. Cut a 6cm diameter circle out of the centre of each sponge (a 6cm biscuit cutter is ideal, or make yourself a paper template) and set aside. Then cut a 12cm diameter circle from the centre of each sponge by tracing a knife around a plate of the same diameter (or use another paper template). So from each sponge you should end up with a 6cm circle, a 12cm ring and an 18cm ring.
  6. Swap the middle rings of the almond sponges with the middle rings from the rose sponges, and fit the cut pieces back together. Handle the sponges very gently, to avoid cracking or crumbling up the edges too much. You should end up with 4 sponges that look like targets.
  7. Heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve and stir in the rose water. Brush some over the top of one of the sponges and top with an alternating sponge. Repeat to stack up all the layers. Sit the cake on a serving plate or cake stand.
  8. Dust your work surface with a little icing sugar and roll out your marzipan until big enough to cover the cake (use a piece of string to measure the cake; see tip below). Brush some more jam all over the top and sides of the cake. Use your rolling pin to lift up the marzipan onto the cake, then ease it down the sides, pressing to stick. Trim the marzipan from the base, then decorate the cake as you like. Cut into wedges and serve with tea. Will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2013

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Comments

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lynnbean's picture

This is so delicious. I had to make a battenberg to serve lots of people so I used a 9 inch pan and used the amounts given here. Had to cook each cake for 45 mins as they're bigger and I used apricot jam for the vertical joins as well as the horizontal. Cake stuck together really well. I particularly loved the almond cake, which I'm thinking of making on its own, with perhaps some chocolate ganache and candied orange to decorate.

MrsDomican's picture
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This cake was amazing! Much easier to make than I initially thought.
I was worried about it being dry after previous comments but didn't want to remove the ground almonds, so I put a really thin spread of vanilla buttercream between each layer. It worked perfectly!
My new favourite cake :)

jilvis's picture

LOVE this cake (although I have never made it to the recipe). I have made a chocolate/orange version for a friend's birthday, covered in orangey chocolate and am about to make a raspberry/red velvet version for my parents' wedding anniversary.

Everyone is very impressed by the look and taste so it's definitely going to become my signature cake :)

JockNines's picture

I made this following the recipe exactly (I don't cook very often so don't improvise). If I were to make it again I'd use less Rose Water as I found it dominated the taste and I'd use more food colouring (it really needs to a shocking pink before you bake it, there is little point in making it if you can's see the chequer board effect). To get the marzipan on the sides I rolled out a strip onto greaseproof paper, rolled it up and unrolled it onto the sides of the cake - this worked well for me.
Having said all that, I won't bake it again. It looks great ( I won a prize in our local show) but the slices fall to pieces as the pieces of cake towards the center are so small and so the slice collapses like a poorly constructed wall (which is actually what it is!). I guess that means that if I were to make the cake again I'd stagger the rings of cake so that they interlock and may hold together when sliced (yes, I'm an engineer not a cook).
All said and done, if you want to impress it certain does that.

whizzyvalentine's picture

This cake is brilliant. Looks stunning when cut into, had everyone guessing how it was made. Tasted amazing too. The only problem I had was with rolling out the marzipan so it was big enough. Will definitley make this again, and will venture into using this technique to make other checkered cakes.

parker2000's picture

I'm hopefully going to try this today, but do a coffee and walnut sponge instead! :)

izzyozzy123's picture

There are many cakes like this at this website,
https://www.facebook.com/cakesjojo
take a look and see if there is anything you like, if there is why not click like so you can get updated on new cakes and handy tips for cake baking!
many thanks,
Jo x

bottleballerina's picture
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I made this for my mum's birthday and found it quite easy. The sponges tasted lovely (I added more rose water) and cooked in 35 minutes in the aga. Really need to let them cool for a while though - started cutting mine too early and they cracked in places. Lovely and moist too!

karendickinson's picture

My husband and son are both coeliacs and I use Juvela multipurpose flour in place of ordinary wheat flour and I always add a teaspoon of Xantham gum. The results are great - you wouldn't know the difference. The xantham gum stops it being too crumbly. I am sure you could also use Doves S.R. four, readily avaialbe in supermarkets but make sure you add tsp of Xanthum Gum - Doves also do this.

10cwang's picture

Haven't tried it yet, but reading everyone else's comments, definitely a cake for my mother's birthday!

giorgiasrecipes's picture

Could this delicious looking cake be made with gluten free flour and if so what would I need to make it rise well?

nuclearpenguin's picture
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I made this for my sisters and brother in law's 3rd anniversary. And it came out quite well.
I rolled the marzipan too thin and it broke in places but I managed to fix that by cutting out heart shapes out of the excess marzipan and dotting them all over the place.
The cake was amazing and very chewy. I loved it. And so did everyone else!

mrscoyne's picture
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I made this for my husband (and 4 kids) for valentines day. It turned out amazing. I used ground almonds and after reading the other comments i opted not to use the vanilla extract and added more almond extract instead. I also used 1 tsp more of rose water in the pink sponge. Both sponges were moist and delicious. I covered the cake with marzipan and then cut red hearts out of fondant to add for decor. The only mistake i made was to use far TOO MUCH pink colouring, which left my pink sponge looking rather fluorescent. It looked great though and tasted divine!

hjroy15951595's picture
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I did this cake for. New Years party and it was fantastic. I also did not use ground almonds but almond flavour and I think this stopped it being dry. I also changed the layering, cutting less circles but still with four sponges.. It worked really well and was easier to put together. The tasters were of different nationalities more used to French patisserie but loved this one.. Might seem a bit complicated but was actually a lot easier than expected.., definitely worth trying.

susannahkendrick's picture
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I've made this cake twice in two weeks for two birthdays and both times it worked beautifully- I think you DO need to up the rosewater but mine tasted lovely and almondy.

My tip is to chill your layers a bit before cutting the circle 'target' shapes- it makes them less fragile. I also put mine assmbled cake uder some baked beans tins to compact it a little before marzipanning.

Well done Good food- a nice, successful challenge.

trudemertenslaan's picture
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I made this for a friend's birthday high tea and it looked wonderful. The sponge was really moist but I could not taste the almond flavouring in the sponge. Couldn't find rosewater so just added more vanilla. I like the idea of trying it again with chocolate and orange as suggested by harj.

HGosal's picture
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Did look like the picture but found it a little dry, probably because of the ground almonds so next time I wouldn't use them. I didn't use the almond or rose water flavouring either as not too keen of those flavouring, but would have thought vanilla would have been enough to flavour it but it wasn't. I would make this cake again but would make changes such as : 1) only make it 2 layers as 4 is a bit much 2) change the flavours to chocolate and orange sponge 3) leave out the ground almonds. Know this defeats the point of a battenberg but think it would taste a lot better but still have that wow factor.

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