Battenberg cake

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This article is about the type of cake. For other uses, see Battenberg.
Battenberg Cake
A homemade Battenberg Cake, showing the typical chequered pink-and-yellow squares
Type Sponge cake
Place of origin United Kingdom
Main ingredients Flour
Cookbook: Battenberg Cake  Media: Battenberg Cake

Battenberg[1] or Battenburg cake[2] 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.[3]


The origin of the cake is unclear,[4][5] with early recipes also using the alternative names "Domino Cake" (recipe by Agnes Berthe Marshall, 1898), "Neapolitan Roll" (recipe by Robert Wells, 1898),[6] 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. The name refers to the town of Battenberg, Hesse in central Germany; it is the seat of the aristocratic family known in Britain as Mountbatten.[7]

According to The Oxford Companion to Food, the name "Battenberg cake" first appeared in print in 1903.[8] 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).[9][4]

American variation[edit]

In the United States there is a related confection called a checkerboard cake, so named because, as with a Battenberg cake, when it is sliced open it resembles the board for the game draughts, known in the U.S. as "checkers," which is played on a "checkerboard". A typical checkerboard cake is one that alternates between vanilla and chocolate flavoured sponge cake and has a very rich chocolate buttercream icing; unlike the British Battenberg it does not typically use marzipan and utilizes a special springform pan to get the desired effect.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Battenberg". Oxford dictionary (American English). Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Definition of “Battenburg”". Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Cook, Sarah (March 2011). "Battenberg Cake". Good Housekeeping. BBC. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Food History Jottings. "Battenburg Cake - the Truth". 
  5. ^ Foods of England. "Battenberg Cake". Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Food History Jottings. "Battenburg Cake History Again!". Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  7. ^ John Ayto, The Diner's Dictionary: Food and Drink from A to Z (Oxford, England : Routledge, 1993), p. 22.
  8. ^ Davidson, Alan, The Oxford Companion to Food, 3rd ed. (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2014), [ p. 67.
  9. ^ In the 1907 edition, see p. 136.
  10. ^