Battenberg cake is a light sponge cake. When cut in cross section, displays a distinctive two-by-two check pattern alternately coloured pink and yellow. The cake is covered in marzipan and, when sliced, the characteristic checks are exposed to view. These coloured sections are made by dyeing half of the cake mixture pink, and half yellow, then cutting each resultant sponge into two long, uniform cuboids, and joining them together with apricot jam, to form one cake. Established variations are for coconut flavouring to the sponge cake and lemon curd or raspberry jam in place of apricot jam.
The origin of the name is not clear, but one theory claims that the cake was created in honour of the marriage in 1884 of Queen Victoria's granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg, with the four squares representing the four Battenberg princes: Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph.
The name is also used to describe a smaller cake in a similar, but more decadent vein. A small cuboid of sponge, usually white, is encased in buttercream and wrapped in marzipan. Visually at this stage, the cake looks like a miniature version of the checkered pattern cake above, but without the two-by-two grid. Each end is then dipped in chocolate up to approximately a third of the length, leaving the central third clear of chocolate. This is allowed to set, before being eaten.
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Battenberg Cake , en.wikipedia.org
Battenberg Cake , www.waitrose.com
Battenberg Cake, Battenberg Cake Recipe , britishfood.about.com