Battenberg Cake

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Battenberg cake a commercially produced cake popular in Britain. It consists of four square lengths of sponge cake, two coloured pink and two left yellow, stuck together with apricot jam. When cut this gives a chequered cross-section. A sheet of almond paste is wrapped round the outside.

The cake appears to be of late 19th-century origin. The first record in print is 1903. Ayto (1993) states that the cake was ‘named in honour of the marriage of Princess Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt, granddaughter of Queen Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884’. Prince Louis later took British nationality and Anglicized his name to Mountbatten. Ayto also observes that the two-tone Battenberg cake ‘was probably designed to mimic the marbled effect of many German breads and cakes’.