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The Kitchn: Battenberg cake is a piece of British history

Kristina Vanni, on

For a quintessential British experience, enjoy a slice of Battenberg cake with a cup of afternoon tea. It is equally delicious when served alongside a cup of coffee, or as a sweet treat after dinner. This distinctive and elegant cake has a long history in the United Kingdom. It is said that the cake was originally created to celebrate the marriage of British Princess Victoria to German Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. The intention was to create a dessert that honored both British and German tastes and sensibilities.

While the cake looks like it would be difficult to make, it is actually quite easy and doesn’t even require a special baking pan. All you have to do is divide an 8-by-8-inch square pan into two equal sections and bake two different color batters on each side. Once the cake is trimmed, the four pieces are arranged into the signature checkered pattern. The entire cake is then encased in marzipan.

This marzipan coating serves two purposes: The sweet marzipan is a delicious contrast to the light sponge cake, and it also keeps the cake fresh by wrapping it all tightly in a flavorful blanket. The marzipan is certainly a nod to the cake’s German heritage, because Germany is often referred to as the marzipan capital of Europe. It is also an ornate, decadent touch that makes this special-occasion treat feel quite distinctive. This recipe calls for ready-to-roll marzipan for ease of preparation. It can be found in the baking section of some specialty shops or it can be ordered online.

Why is a Battenberg cake pink and yellow?

A classic Battenberg cake is made with yellow and pink cake in a checkered pattern. It is said that these four blocks represent the four princes of Battenberg. The cake was created to satisfy both the British palate as well as German aesthetics. The design reflects German rococo architecture as well as favorite German ingredients such as apricot jam and marzipan. These flavors were also popular with the English palate. This traditional cake has been a favorite treat in the U.K. since the 1800s. Even today, there is a checkered emblem on the front of emergency vehicles in England. These are commonly referred to as “Battenberg markings.”

What is a Battenberg cake made of?


Battenberg cake is made of pink and yellow almond-flavored sponge cakes that are cut into equal-sized pieces and pressed together using apricot jam to form a checkered pattern. The cake is then covered in a sheet of rolled marzipan.

What does a Battenberg cake taste like?

Battenberg cake tastes like a light, almond-flavored sponge cake with a hint of apricot jam. The marzipan coating is very sweet and also almond-flavored.

Origin of Battenberg cake


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