- 250g Butterunsalted
- 250g Caster sugar
- 1 Vanilla podseeds scraped out
- 235g Self Raising Flour
- 100g Ground almonds
- 45g Cocoa powder
- 6 Large eggs
- 1 tbsp Apricot jam
- 750g Marzipan
- 2 tbsp Powdered sugarfor dusting
- Food colouringbrown
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Prepare two 20cm square cake tins by lining them with greaseproof paper. Place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla seeds in a mixing bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy.
Beat the eggs lightly in a jug and slowly pour into the butter mixture while mixing on high speed to incorporate.
Divide the batter into two equal parts. Sift 140g flour and 50g almonds together and fold through the first half of the batter. Then sift 95g flour, 50g almonds and the cocoa powder together and fold through the second half. Pour each batter into prepared cake tins.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven. The sponges are cooked when the sides are beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tin and the tops spring back to the touch. If in doubt, insert a clean knife or wooden skewer into the centre of the sponge; it should come out clean.
Allow to cool for about 30 minutes outside of the oven. Once just warm, turn the cakes out of the tins and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once cool, wrap the sponges in cling film and then rest them overnight at room temperature. This will ensure that the sponges firm up to the perfect texture for trimming and layering. When trimmed too soon after baking, the sponges tend to crumble and may even break into pieces.
To assemble the cake, level the tops of the sponges using a serrated knife to an overall height of 2.5cm. Trim off the edges and cut each sponge into three even strips of about 5cm wide so you have three white and three brown sponge pieces all of the same size. For each battenberg cake you need one brown and one white piece of sponge.
Gently warm the apricot jam and spread a thin layer over one of the dark sponges. Place one of the light sponges on top, then cut them in half lengthwise and lay flat. Brush another thin layer of jam over the surface of one half slice and then place the second half slice on top, with the colours facing the opposite way to create a grid of four squares when viewed from the front. Repeat for the other pieces of sponge or, alternatively, freeze them for later use.
Mix the marzipan with the brown food colour to a light shade. On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll the marzipan out to a thickness of 34mm. It must be large enough that you can cut a 20cm square.
Flip it over onto a clean surface or sheet of greaseproof paper. Spread a thin layer of jam over the marzipan sheet. Place the sponge log on top of the marzipan towards one side. If necessary, trim the marzipan sheet to the same length as the log.
Making sure the ends meet at one of the corners, carefully wrap the marzipan around the log. Trim away any excess. Gently press the join together with your fingers. Square up the sides by gently pressing them with the cake smoothers. For extra detail, crimp along the top corners using a marzipan crimper.