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Battenberg cake recipe

480 g (16.9oz) softened unsalted butter
480 g (16.9oz) caster sugar
8 medium eggs
1 capful of vanilla extract
480 g (16.9oz) plain flour
20 g (0.7oz) baking powder
1 pinch red food colouring
1 pinch yellow food colouring
1 jar of apricot preserve
100 g (3.5oz) icing sugar
750 g (26.5oz) yellow marzipan


Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Take a 25 x30cm baking tin, at least 2.5cm deep, and line the base with a piece of baking parchment. Lightly grease the parchment and the sides of the tray. If you are using a Battenburg tin, prepare it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs lightly with the vanilla extract and add to the creamed mixture a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift the flour and baking powder on to a piece of baking parchment and then sift again. Fold the dry ingredients into the creamed mix with a large metal spoon; do this in 3 stages, being careful not to overmix and tighten the batter. Divide the batter evenly between 2 bowls - the best was to make sure you've divided it accurately is to use weighing scales. Add a drop of red colouring to one bowl and a drop of yellow colouring to the other; pale pink and yellow are more attractive than bright colours, which look too synthetic. Gently fold the colouring in, being particularly careful not to handle the mixture too heavily. If using a baking tray, place one of the mixes on one side of the tray and spread it over half the tray widthways as evenly as you can, making sure it is level. Place the waxed divider in the tin, then add the second mix on the empty side of the tray and level it with a palette knife as evenly as possible. If using a Battenburg tin, spoon in the mix as per the maker's instructions. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, or a knife comes out clean when inserted in the centre. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. If you have used a baking tin, it will be easier to cut the cake when it is completely cold. Once the cake has cooled, refrigerate it for at least an hour, until it feels firm enough to cut. If possible, leave it in the fridge for 24 hours, then it will be easier to handle and assemble it. Remove the card by cutting either side of it with a sharp knife and then pulling it away. Place a piece of baking parchment on top of the cake and cover it with a clean tray, flat-side to the cake. Flip the cake over on to the clean tray. Slide the cake from the tray on to a clean, level work surface and remove the baking paper from the top of the cake. Bring the apricot preserve to the boil in a small pan and press it through a fine sieve to remove the pieces of fruit. Take the yellow price of cake and make sure the side that was on the base of the baking tray is facing up. Brush the surface with the hot apricot preserve. Place the pink section of the cake into equal strips approximately 2.5cm wide. As you do this, flip each strip over so the cut side is up and the side that were the top and bottom of the cake are either side of the cut section, which will be yellow and pink. Lay the pieces next to each other so they touch. They should all be equal heights and widths at this stage. Using the same knife, cut the skin (the brown layer that was the top and bottom of the cake) from each strip. This can be done easily if you flipped the strips. You need to keep the knife as close to the skin as possible so you do not cut away too much cake. Your cake strips should now be lying pink, yellow, pink, yellow next to each other, still touching, and still be equal in width and height. Brush hot apricot preserve over the entire surface of the laid-out strips. Now flip one section over on to the next to create the 4 squares. Do this twice to make 2 sets of 4 squares (there will be a couple of strips left over, which you can use to make half a cake). Trim off either end of the sandwich blocks so they are neat and tidy. Dust a work surface with the sifted icing sugar and roll out the marzipan so it is the same length as your cakes but 4 times as wide as each sandwiched block of 4 squares. Do not roll the marzipan too thinly; it should be about 3-4mm/1/8 inch thick. Brush the marzipan with the edge of the left-hand side of the marzipan. Now roll the block up in the marzipan, turning the block over to your right. Trim away the excess marzipan so there is a nice clean join. Take a clean, dry pastry brush and brush off any icing sugar from the marzipan-wrapped cake, then use a pair of cake crimpers to crimp the top of the marzipan at the edges. Roll up the second cake in the remaining marzipan in the same way.

Source: www.lovefood.com