This is my play on a traditional Battenburg. For best results, buy white marzipan rather than the Day-Glo yellow version, as this gives more of a mellow colour that can match the colour of the sponge. Cakes are for sharing with friends and family, and I love this cake because it is the perfect choice for a man – it’s a long way from the light and fluffy yellow and pastel pink colours of a classic Battenburg!
Put the butter and sugar together in a bowl and, using a wooden spoon, cream them together until they are light and fluffy. Add the baking powder with half of the flour, all of the ground almonds and two of the eggs and beat it like mad for a moment. Then add the rest of the flour and the remaining egg with the milk and beat hard again. Transfer half of the cake mixture to another bowl, add the cocoa powder and coffee essence to it and then fold together to combine.
Put the plain almond cake mixture into one of the lined tins and the chocolate espresso cake mixture into the other. Smooth down the tops with the back of a spoon and
Leave the cakes to cool down completely in the tins and then trim them into two equal-sized rectangles, 20 × 6cm in size and 3cm high.
Cut each rectangle lengthways down the centre to give you two identical strips of chocolate cake, and two identical strips of white cake. Set the cakes aside.
Sprinkle a little icing sugar on your work surface, and then roll out the marzipan to a large 15 × 24cm rectangle, slightly thinner than a £1 coin (about 3mm).
Warm the apricot jam in a small pan. Sandwich together a white cake strip and a chocolate cake strip with a little of the apricot jam, making sure the edges meet just right. Repeat with the other two strips so you have two blocks.
Take one of the blocks and cover it with a thin layer of apricot jam, and then place the other block on top, making sure that the dark strip is above the white strip. Have a play around for a moment making sure that everything lines up nicely.
Spread the top of the cake with apricot jam and place this side down in the centre of the marzipan. Spread the exposed marzipan with the rest of the jam and fold each side of marzipan over the cake so that its seam meets slightly in the centre at the top of the cake. Gently seal the edges together by pressing with your fingers and then flip the cake over onto a serving plate.
Take a wide palette knife and hold it lengthways along the centre of the cake. Sprinkle some icing sugar or cocoa powder over the top to decorate. Voila – the perfect cake for the man in your life!
© Lorraine Pascale, 2017. Images: © Myles New, 2017.