Battenberg Cake or Battenberg Square is a light sponge cake with the pieces covered in jam. The cake is covered in marzipan and, when cut in cross section, displays a distinctive two-by-two check pattern alternately coloured pink and yellow.
The cake is made by baking a yellow and a pink sponge cake separately and then cutting and combining the pieces in a chequered pattern. The cake is held together by apricot jam and covered with marzipan.
The origin of the cake is unknown, with early recipes also using the alternative names "Domino Cake" (recipe by Agnes Berthe Marshall, 1898), "Neapolitan Roll" (recipe by Robert Wells, 1898), or "Church Window Cake." The cake was purportedly named in honour of the marriage, in 1884, of Princess Victoria, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Louis of Battenberg, where "Battenberg" refers to the town of Battenberg in central Germany (the seat of the aristocratic family known in Britain as Mountbatten).
^John Ayto, The Diner's Dictionary: Food and Drink from A to Z (Oxford, England : Routledge, 1993), p. 22.
According to The Oxford Companion to Food, the name "Battenberg cake" first appeared in print in 1903. See: Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food, 3rd ed. (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 67.
However, a "Battenburg cake" appeared in: Frederick Vine, Saleable Shop Goods for Counter-Tray and Window … (London, England: Office of the Baker and Confectioner, 1898). In the 1907 edition, see p. 136.