The Battenberg, sometimes called the ‘church window cake’, is such a pretty thing to create. Although it may look difficult, it’s easy and fun to make and quite heavenly to eat. It’s simply a cake of two flavours, stuck together with raspberry jam and wrapped up in soft, sweet almond marzipan. Using fresh raspberries to colour the pink bit means an escape from bottled food colouring, and also gives a fabulous fresh fruit flavour.
Once you’ve mastered this raspberry and vanilla combination, you’ll dream up lots of other scrummy alternatives. You could even add a third flavour – chocolate works well – building a cake of six squares.
- Yield: 12 Servings
- 100 g raspberries (either fresh or frozen and defrosted)
- 175 g caster sugar, plus 1 tsp for the raspberries
- 100 g rice flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 100 g ground almonds
- 175 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
- 3 eggs
- ¼ tsp vanilla paste or ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g soft-set raspberry jam
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- 450 g Marzipan
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4. Start by making the pink colouring for the cake. Place the raspberries in a small bowl and mix in 1 tsp caster sugar. Leave until the juices begin to run, then use the back of a spoon to crush the fruit to a pulp. Sieve to remove the pips. Set aside.
- Sift the rice flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the ground almonds, butter, sugar and eggs. Using either a wooden spoon or a hand-held electric whisk, beat for a couple of minutes until all the ingredients are well combined and the mixture is light and creamy.
- Divide the mixture in half and place in two bowls. Add 2 tbsp of the raspberry purée to one portion and the vanilla to the other. Carefully mix the flavouring into each portion until well blended.
- Spoon the raspberry mixture into one prepared loaf tin and the vanilla mixture into the other, smoothing them both evenly and lightly with the back of the spoon. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes until evenly coloured and firm to the touch. Leave the cakes in their tins for 5–10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- When cool, carefully trim off the ends of each cake, then slice each one lengthways in two, so you have four rectangles, exactly the same size. Brush the strips of cake with raspberry jam and sandwich them together, alternating the raspberry and vanilla strips, to create the characteristic chequered pattern.
- ext dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to a rectangle, about 20 x 32 cm (or big enough to wrap around your cake). Brush the top of the cake with raspberry jam and invert the cake onto the centre of the marzipan. Brush the remaining three sides with raspberry jam. With jam-free fingers, wrap the marzipan round the remaining three sides of the cake and press the edges together to make a neat join. Carefully invert the cake, so the seam is underneath.
- To finish, use your finger and thumb to crimp and decorate the top edges, then very lightly score the top of the cake with a knife to create a criss-cross pattern.
- This cake will keep for a week stored in an airtight tin.