Easy Mary Berry Battenberg Cake Recipe

Last updated on May 17, 2024

Easy Mary Berry Battenberg Cake Recipe
Yields: 6 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 1 Hr Cook Time: 30 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins

Mary Berry’s Battenberg Cake is a classic British teatime treat, characterized by its distinctive checkered pattern of pink and yellow sponge squares, enveloped in sweet marzipan. This delightful dessert not only looks impressive but tastes exquisite, making it perfect for celebrations, afternoon teas, and special gatherings.

This recipe serves 8-10 people and can be prepared in about 2 to 3 hours.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of creating Mary Berry’s iconic Battenberg Cake, complete with practical tips to ensure your cake looks as good as it tastes.

What is Mary Berry Battenberg Cake?

The Battenberg Cake is a light sponge cake visibly marked into two-by-two squares of alternating colors, typically pink and yellow, held together with apricot jam and wrapped in marzipan.

Mary Berry Battenberg Cake

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Visually Striking: The classic checkered pattern makes this cake a standout at any gathering.
  • Rich in Tradition: Enjoy a slice of British culinary history with each bite.
  • Perfectly Sweet: The combination of soft sponge, fruity jam, and nutty marzipan offers a perfectly balanced sweetness.
  • Versatile for Occasions: Ideal for celebrations, including birthdays and anniversaries, or as a special weekend treat.
  • Fun to Make: Enjoy the creative process of assembling the beautiful checkered design.

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Battenberg Cake

  • 150g (5.3 oz) self-raising flour – ensures the sponge is light and fluffy.
  • 150g (5.3 oz) soft butter, plus extra for greasing – gives the cake its tender crumb.
  • 150g (5.3 oz) caster sugar – for a sweet, fine texture.
  • 3 large eggs – binds the mixture and adds moisture.
  • 75g (2.6 oz) ground almonds (about 1.7 oz) – enhances the texture and flavor.
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract – adds a subtle aroma and flavor.
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract – complements the almond theme.
  • Red food coloring – to achieve the classic pink sponge.
  • 100g (3.5 oz) apricot jam – used to glue the sponge pieces together.
  • 500g (17.6 oz) marzipan – for covering the cake, adding sweetness and texture.


  • 20cm (8 inch) square baking tin
  • Baking paper
  • Cooling rack
  • Sharp knife
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Battenberg Cake

Step 1: Preparing the Batter

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Grease a 20cm square baking tin and line it with baking parchment.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each to prevent curdling.
  • Fold in the remaining flour and ground almonds gently to keep the air in the mixture.
  • Divide the mixture between two bowls. In one bowl, stir in the vanilla extract; in the other, the almond extract and enough food coloring to achieve a vibrant pink hue.

Step 2: Baking the Cake

  • Spoon the vanilla and pink batters into separate sides of the prepared tin, separated by a folded strip of baking parchment down the middle to keep them distinct.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 3: Assembling the Battenberg

  • Trim the edges of the cakes and cut each colored sponge in half lengthways so you have four long rectangles.
  • Warm the apricot jam slightly, then brush over the long sides of the sponge to act as glue.
  • Roll out the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar to the thickness of a £1 coin.
  • Place one pink and one vanilla sponge side by side on the marzipan, brush the top with jam, then place the remaining two sponges on top, alternating the colors to create the checkered pattern.
  • Wrap the marzipan firmly around the cake, making sure the seam is at the bottom.
  • Trim any excess marzipan and neaten the ends. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Mary Berry Battenberg Cake

What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Battenberg Cake

  • A Cup of Tea: Enhance the British tea-time experience by serving this cake with a pot of freshly brewed Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea.
  • Light-Whipped Cream: Offer a dollop of lightly whipped cream on the side for those who enjoy a creamy addition.
  • Fresh Berries: Accompany the cake with a bowl of fresh berries for a refreshing contrast.
  • Coffee or Espresso: For those who prefer coffee, an espresso or a cappuccino makes an excellent companion.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Battenberg Cake

  • Measure Accurately: Ensure all ingredients are measured precisely to maintain the structure and texture of the cake.
  • Consistent Oven Temperature: Preheat your oven for at least 20 minutes to ensure a consistent temperature for even baking.
  • Smooth Marzipan: Roll the marzipan on a surface dusted with powdered sugar to prevent sticking and achieve a smooth finish.
  • Prevent Coloring Errors: When coloring the batter, add the food coloring gradually to achieve the desired shade without overmixing.
  • Assembly Precision: Take your time when assembling the cake layers with jam to ensure a clean, sharp checkered pattern.

Variations of Mary Berry Battenberg Cake

Exploring variations can add a delightful twist to this traditional recipe.

  • Lemon & Lime: Swap the traditional flavors for lemon and lime sponges, using corresponding zests and natural food colorings.
  • Chocolate & Vanilla: Introduce a rich chocolate sponge alongside the classic vanilla for a decadent twist.
  • Nut-Free: For allergy considerations, replace the ground almonds in the sponge with fine cornmeal or more flour.
  • Marmalade Version: Use orange marmalade instead of apricot jam for a tangy flavor contrast.
  • Fruit Toppings: Decorate the top with glazed cherries or citrus peel for an extra decorative touch.

How to Store Mary Berry Battenberg Cake Leftovers

Storing leftovers properly ensures that your Battenberg Cake remains delicious for days.

  • Airtight Container: Store the cake in an airtight container to keep it moist and fresh.
  • Cool Room: Keep the container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Refrigerate if Necessary: In warmer climates, you might consider refrigerating the cake, although this can dry it out somewhat.

How to Reheat Mary Berry Battenberg Cake Leftovers

When it comes to reheating, Battenberg Cake usually doesn’t require it, but if you need to refresh the marzipan slightly, here’s how.

  • Room Temperature: Simply bringing the cake to room temperature often enhances the flavor and texture enough without reheating.
  • Brief Oven Warm-up: If you must warm it, place it in a preheated oven at a very low temperature (100°C/210°F) for about 5 minutes.

Nutrition Value per Serving

  • Calories: Approximately 450 kcal
  • Total Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 80mg
  • Sodium: 200mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 62g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 40g
  • Protein: 6g


Can I Use Store-Bought Marzipan for Mary Berry Battenberg’s Cake?

Yes, store-bought marzipan is perfectly suitable for this recipe and is actually recommended for convenience and consistency. Ensure it’s soft and pliable before rolling it out to cover the cake.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have a Baking Tin Divider?

If you don’t have a baking tin divider, you can make one by folding aluminum foil into a thick strip and placing it in the center of the tin, effectively dividing it into two separate sections. Ensure it’s sturdy enough to prevent the two colors of batter from mixing.

How Do I Ensure My Battenberg Cake Layers Stick Together?

To ensure the layers of your Battenberg Cake stick together, use a generous amount of warmed apricot jam as glue. Apply it evenly and lightly press the layers together to help them adhere well without sliding.

Is There a Way to Make Battenberg Cake Without Almonds for Allergies?

For those with nut allergies, you can substitute ground almonds with an equal amount of additional self-raising flour and omit the almond extract. This will alter the flavor slightly but will keep the texture of the sponge consistent.

Final Words

This guide gives you everything you need to make Mary Berry’s Battenberg Cake. Have fun baking, enjoy putting it together, and love serving this lovely cake to your friends and family.

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