GBBO 1920s week, and a Battenburg cake

It’s the first 1920s themed week on Bake off. There seems to be some mixed feelings on this one online. Some people are very excited about another new theme; others think it smacks a bit of desperation and a lack of ideas.

Me, I was just surprised that there was no aspic or other gelatine moulds involved!

I pondered an upside down cake and decided to go with a bigger personal challenge – Battenburg. Doesn’t hurt that it’s one of HusBeast’s favourites.

In a nutshell it’s two almondy sponges, one dyed pink, covered in jam and wrapped in marzipan. Sounds straightforward?

Step one, line tin. I used a brownie pan as it’s square.

It’s an all in one recipe. Flour, ground almonds, butter, eggs, baking powder ad extracts.

Into tin, into oven for 25 mins.

Repeat, adding pink food colouring a little at a time.

It’s easy to add more, but there’s no coming back from Barbie’s Dream House. Also bear in mind that most food colourings, even natural ones like turmeric, will darken as they cook.

This recipe makes twice as much sponge as needed for one cake, but I’m only making one.

Even (ish) lengths of cake are alternated, glued together with warmed apricot jam and covered in white marzipan.

Of course I made this more difficult than it strictly needed to be, but I don’t think wrapping sticky pieces of cake in a sheet is ever without some hiccups.

Lots of lining things up, adding jam, an wondering why they don’t line up now.


I used a palette knife to help with the rolling, and the horrendously bad seaming was tucked underneath, thankfully. The rough edges were lopped off with a sharp knife, and suddenly I had a recognisable Battenburg.

I have a couple of centimeters where my marzipan doubles up, but I don’t think that’s a deal breaker.

This definitely benefits from being left to sit for at least a couple of hours before slicing, for the whole piece to settle and relax.

My squares are not perfectly equal and don’t line up quite as neatly as I’d like, but I’m happy with this as a first attempt.

Husbeast has declared himself spoiled for shop-bought Battenburg now (sorry, Mister Kipling!). I’m not even a massive fan of this type of cake, but I really enjoyed it. The almond in the sponges was delicious but not overpowering and despite being covered in marzipan it didn’t make my teeth ache.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up. Very much worth a repeat bake.

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