How to Make the Best Battenberg

The best Battenberg cake – an English classic cake of fluffy checked sponge, sandwiched together with raspberry jam and wrapped in thick almond marzipan. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it would be more suitable to colour the sponges white and red, finishing with raspberry jam to match the occasion. You can, of course, use apricot jam which is the classic addition.

Being a pastry chef in various hotels in London means only one thing. I have made so many battenbergs in my career that it was inevitable to share the recipe with you eventually. Homemade battenberg is so much better than the shop-bought stuff. I decided to photo the assembly stage for you guys, as if you have never made Battenberg before, the assembly steps seem a lot more complicated than they actually are. Once you’ve made the red and white sponge cakes, you simply need to trim the outer edges of the sponge off and cut each sponge into four long rectangles. Once you’ve done that bit you get to the fun part of assembling!

Tips for the battenberg

Use binder clips to secure the aluminium foil division: If you have any binder clips around they are really great for attaching the aluminium foil division to your tin, making sure it stays in place.

Weight your batter: I would advise you to weight your batter in half before colouring it to make sure the sponges are even.

Trim the tops: After your sponges are completely cool make sure to trim the tops so that the cake is completely flat when assembling.

Freeze your battenberg: Before I wrap the battenberg in marzipan I like freezing for 30-45 minutes to ensure that it is not crumbly while I am wrapping it.

Use icing sugar when rolling: Marzipan really likes to stick on surfaces so use plenty of icing sugar when rolling.

Use a palette knife to spread the jam: Most recipes out there will tell you to warm your jam and then brush it onto the battenberg. I personally prefer using a palette knife to spread the jam, to prevent the cake from crumbling.

Ingredients for the battenberg

Cake flour: Cake flour is not the same as all-purpose flour, as cake flour has cornstarch added to it. You can make your own cake flour by sieving together 140g all-purpose flour with 140g of cornstarch.

Almond extract: Almond extract is optional but it does give a very nice bitter almond flavour to the cake.

Colourings: I always like to mix my colours with a bit of milk to slightly loosen them, making it easier to mix into the batter.

Raspberry jam: Raspberry jam is not a classic addition to the battenberg but the redness of the jam is perfect for Valentine’s day. You can also use apricot jam.


For the battenberg

  • 3 eggs
  • 210g caster sugar
  • 210g unsalted butter
  • 160g cake flour
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 4g baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract(optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tbsp whole milk mixed with 1/2tsp of white powder colour
  • 1tbsp whole milk mixed with 1tsp red gel colour
  • 500g marzipan
  • Raspberry jam or apricot jam


How to make the battenberg

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a 9×9 inch square pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the cooled batternberg.
  2. Take a 14in x 9in strip of aluminium foil and make a 9in fold in the centre. This will create a division in the cake so that the two differently coloured sponges can be cooked at the same time.
  3. Place the division in the centre of the tin. You can use binder clips to ensure to attach the division in the centre.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together almond powder, cake flour and baking powder and set aside. In a bowl using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light in colour. Alternatively, you can use a standing mixer with the paddle attached. Add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated. Scrape the sides, add the dry ingredients and beat again until everything is well combined. Lastly, add the almond extract and vanilla extract folding gently with a spatula.
  5. Divide the batter between two bowls(you can weigh the batter in half to be precise). Add the colour mixed with milk and fold gently into each batter.
  6. Spoon the cake batters into each side of the prepared tin and smooth the surface using a small cranked palette knife.
  7. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. 
  8. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove the sponge from the tin and place on a wire rack. Leave until completely cold.

How to assemble the battenberg

  1. To assemble the cake, first trim off the crusty edges so they are both the same size. Cut the sponges in half lengthways to make four long rectangles.
  2. Spread some raspberry jam using a cranked palette knife on the long side of one of the sponges and sandwich together with a sponge of a contrasting colour. Do the same with the other two sponges.
  3. Sandwich the two pairs of sponges together like a checkerboard. Wrap the cake with cling film and place in the freezer for half an hour. It will be much easier to fold the cake when it is slightly frozen and firm.
  4. Place the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar and use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle of about 18inx12in; it should be large enough to wrap the cake completely, leaving the ends exposed, and be about 5mm thick.
  5. Turn the cake upside down on the marzipan and brush the undersides of the sponges with jam.
  6. Wrap the marzipan around the cake, pressing it gently onto the surface of the sponges, and press the edges together to make a firm join. You can use a cake smoother to make the marzipan as smooth as possible.
  7. Turn back over with the seam underneath, trim a thin slice off each end(to make it neat) and place on a serving plate.
  8. You can use a small heart-shaped cutter and press it against the marzipan to create the pattern as shown in the pictures.
  9. You can wrap any leftover battenberg in cling film and store it at room temperature for up to two days.
  10. Enjoy 🙂

You May Also Like

Vegan kumquat layered cake

Valentines red velvet cupcakes

Black Forest Yule Log

Parsnip cupcakes with brown butter cream cheese frosting