English Battenberg Cake Recipe - Traditional Dessert from England

English Battenberg Cake

English Battenberg Cake Recipe - Traditional Dessert from England
Region / culture: England | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes | Servings: 8


English Battenberg Cake
English Battenberg Cake

The English Battenberg Cake is a classic British dessert that is not only delicious but also visually stunning. This cake is made up of two different colored sponge cakes that are arranged in a checkerboard pattern and covered in a layer of almond paste. It is a perfect treat for special occasions or afternoon tea.


The Battenberg Cake was first created in the late 19th century to celebrate the marriage of Princess Victoria, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Louis of Battenberg. The cake was designed to resemble the colors of the Battenberg family flag - pink and yellow. Since then, it has become a popular dessert in England and is often served at weddings and other special events.


Almond paste

How to prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
  2. Prepare a cake tin measuring 9 x 6 inches by cutting a piece of heavy aluminum foil that is the same length as the base but 2 inches wider than the width.
  3. Fold the foil in the middle to create a flat bottom for the tin, with a standing wall that divides it into two equal-sized oblongs.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and creamy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and also add 1 tbsp of flour.
  6. Stir well to combine.
  7. Fold in the remaining flour and vanilla essence.
  8. If needed, add a little milk to achieve a batter consistency that easily drops off the spoon.
  9. Pour half of the cake batter into one half of the prepared cake tin.
  10. Mix the cocoa into the remaining batter and add a spoonful of milk if necessary, then pour it into the other half of the tin.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  12. Once the cake is cooked, set it aside to cool.
  13. While the cake is baking, prepare the almond paste.

Almond paste

  1. Sift the icing sugar and castor sugar together into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Mix in the ground almonds.
  3. Add the lemon juice, almond essence, and enough beaten egg to bind all the ingredients into a paste.
  4. Sprinkle a working surface with a little icing sugar and place the paste on it.
  5. Knead the almond paste until it becomes smooth, being careful not to over-knead as it may become oily.
  6. Remove the cake from the tin and trim both halves to equal size, then cut each in half lengthwise.
  7. Spread apricot jam on the side of one piece of white cake and place a brown piece next to it.
  8. Spread jam on top of both halves.
  9. Repeat with the other two halves of the cake, alternating between white and brown, and place them on top of the jam-covered layer to create a checkerboard pattern.
  10. Press the layers together gently.
  11. Spread the remaining jam over the top and sides of the cake.
  12. On a lightly sugared board, roll the almond paste into a large oblong shape that can encase the entire cake.
  13. Wrap the almond paste around the cake, trimming the edges to leave the ends uncovered.
  14. Crimp the top edges to create a border and use a knife to score a criss-cross pattern on the top.
  15. Store the cake in a tin with a tight-fitting lid for two days before serving.


  • You can experiment with different flavors for the sponge cakes, such as chocolate or lemon.
  • Instead of almond paste, you can use fondant or buttercream for the covering of the cake.
  • Add a layer of raspberry or strawberry jam between the sponge cakes for extra flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to measure your ingredients accurately to ensure the perfect texture of the cake.

- Be careful not to overmix the batter, as this can result in a tough cake.

- Use a sharp knife to cut the cake into equal-sized pieces for the checkerboard pattern.

- Allow the cake to cool completely before covering it with almond paste to prevent it from melting.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the English Battenberg Cake with a cup of tea or coffee for a delightful afternoon treat. It can also be served as a dessert at a special occasion or celebration.

Cooking Techniques

Folding the flour into the batter gently to avoid overmixing.

- Kneading the almond paste until smooth and pliable.

- Crimping the edges of the almond paste to create a decorative border.

Ingredient Substitutions

You can use margarine instead of butter in the cake batter.

- Ground hazelnuts can be used instead of almonds in the almond paste.

- Any flavor of jam can be used in place of apricot jam.

Make Ahead Tips

The English Battenberg Cake can be made a day in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. The flavors will develop even more if left to sit for a day before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the English Battenberg Cake on a decorative cake stand for a beautiful presentation. You can also dust the top of the cake with icing sugar for a finishing touch.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair the English Battenberg Cake with a glass of champagne or a sweet dessert wine for a luxurious treat. It also pairs well with a cup of Earl Grey tea or a cappuccino.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover English Battenberg Cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. To reheat, place a slice in the microwave for a few seconds until warm.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of English Battenberg Cake contains approximately 300 calories.


Each serving of English Battenberg Cake contains approximately 35 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of English Battenberg Cake contains approximately 15 grams of fats.


Each serving of English Battenberg Cake contains approximately 5 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

English Battenberg Cake is not a significant source of vitamins and minerals.


English Battenberg Cake contains nuts (almonds) and eggs.


English Battenberg Cake is a delicious dessert that is relatively high in carbohydrates and fats. It is best enjoyed in moderation as a special treat.


The English Battenberg Cake is a delightful dessert that is not only visually appealing but also delicious. With its checkerboard pattern and almond paste covering, it is sure to impress your guests at any special occasion. Enjoy a slice with a cup of tea for a truly British treat!

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe is still vivid in my mind. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Elizabeth in her cozy English cottage. As I stepped into her kitchen, I was greeted by the aroma of freshly baked cakes and pastries. Elizabeth had always been an excellent baker, and I knew I was in for a treat.

She welcomed me with a warm smile and a cup of tea, as we sat down at her kitchen table to catch up on each other's lives. As we chatted, Elizabeth suddenly remembered a recipe she had been meaning to share with me. She rummaged through her collection of handwritten recipe cards and pulled out a faded piece of paper with the words "English Battenberg Cake" scrawled across it.

"This is a family recipe that has been passed down through generations," Elizabeth explained. "It's a traditional English cake that is not only delicious but also visually stunning. Would you like to learn how to make it?"

I eagerly nodded, intrigued by the history and tradition behind this recipe. Elizabeth began to explain the process, detailing each step and ingredient with precision and care. The cake was made with a light sponge cake base, flavored with almond extract and tinted with pink and yellow food coloring. The most unique aspect of the Battenberg Cake was its distinctive checkerboard pattern, created by alternating layers of pink and yellow sponge cake.

As Elizabeth demonstrated how to assemble the cake, I watched in awe as she carefully trimmed the edges of each sponge cake layer to create perfect squares. She then spread a layer of apricot jam between the squares to bind them together, before wrapping the entire cake in a layer of marzipan. The final touch was to brush the marzipan with a shimmering glaze, giving the cake a glossy finish.

I was amazed by the intricate process of making the Battenberg Cake, and I knew that I had to learn how to recreate it in my own kitchen. Elizabeth was patient and encouraging as she guided me through each step, offering tips and tricks along the way. Together, we baked and assembled the cake, chatting and laughing as we worked side by side.

The finished Battenberg Cake was a work of art, with its neat rows of pink and yellow squares encased in a golden layer of marzipan. I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment as I sliced into the cake, revealing the perfect checkerboard pattern inside. The taste was as delicious as it looked, with the subtle almond flavor and sweet apricot jam complementing each other perfectly.

From that day on, the English Battenberg Cake became a staple in my baking repertoire. I would often make it for special occasions and gatherings, delighting friends and family with its unique appearance and exquisite taste. As I baked the cake, I would think of Elizabeth and the special bond we shared over this treasured recipe.

Years passed, and Elizabeth's cottage became a distant memory. But the legacy of the Battenberg Cake lived on, passed down from one generation to the next. I would teach my own grandchildren how to make the cake, sharing the story of how I learned the recipe from a dear friend in a quaint English cottage.

The English Battenberg Cake has become more than just a recipe to me. It is a symbol of friendship, tradition, and the joy of baking. And as I continue to bake this cake in my kitchen, I am reminded of the special moments shared with Elizabeth, and the bond that we forged over a shared love of food and family.


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