April 30, 1884: The Wedding Day of Princess Victoria and Prince Louis of Battenberg
As marriage sponsors at church, we are always intrigued with foods related to weddings. Battenberg Cake, with its distinctive checkered pattern and quilt-like markings, has a royal wedding history. It was reputedly created in honor of the German Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt when they were married on April 30, 1884. The princess is the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England. Though the royal groom was born in Austria and raised in Germany, the family name eventually became Anglicized from Battenburg (Battenberg) to Mountbatten to disassociate with the Nazis during the World War. The cake itself seems to represent the alliance (marriage) between Germany and England with the two colors!
Battenberg Cake is a terrific teatime treat. Try this royal recipe for bridal showers, nuptial celebrations and the anniversary of the Prince and Princess of Battenberg.
- 1 box pound cake mix (we used Betty Crocker brand)
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- red food coloring
- yellow food coloring
- apricot jam
- 2 packages marzipan
Prepare the pound cake mix according to the directions on the box. In a mixing bowl, combine the pound cake mix with the butter, eggs and milk. Add the almond extract.
Mix until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter equally in two bowls. Tint one with red food coloring and stir until the batter is pink. Tint the other with yellow food coloring and mix well. Pour each into two separate, same-sized greased loaf pans.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes, testing the cakes for doneness. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Trim off the brown edges from the four sides of the cake.
Level out the tops. Stack one cake on top of the other. Slice down the middle to create long, rectangular strips of cake.
Stir the apricot jam in a small bowl until smooth. Generously spread the jam on one side of the cake strip. Attach an opposite colored cake strip to the side. Brush more jam on the top of the two cake strips. Repeat with the other cake strips, topping them with opposite colors. Brush all crumbs away and spread more jam on the sides, including the top and bottom of the cake.
Knead the marzipan to soften. Roll out on a clean, flat surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Keep rolling until the size is large enough to cover the sides of the cake. Brush apricot jam on the marzipan. Carefully wrap the marzipan around the cake.
Trim off the excess marzipan. Make a neat seam on the bottom and overlap the edges. Turn the cake around and make light criss-cross markings on the top. Chill until the marzipan and jam are set (around 15-30 minutes). Slice off the ends to make the cake look neat and finished. Cut ¾-inch thick portions and serve during tea time.
- In lieu of the apricot jam, a thin layer of vanilla frosting may be used to “glue” the cake strips together.
- Search our blog for other royalty-inspired recipes.