Gluten Free Battenberg Without Much Fuss

Yields: 8 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook Time: 25 Mins Total Time: 40 Mins

Until I moved here, I never really appreciated just how often the English drink tea. Morning cuppa? Sure! But a mid-afternoon hot drink, or a jolt of caffeine just before bed never occurred to me. In the 2 ½ years since I came to the UK, I think I’ve had more tea than in my 36 years in America. When Young Sir was born, and after we finally got settled into the maternity ward, the midwife brought me hot milky tea and even hunted down gluten free bread for some buttered toast. I don’t know if it’s because I’d been ‘nil by mouth’ for the previous 12 hours, but that was the best tea & toast I’ve had in my life.

Outside the maternity ward, I prefer something a little sweeter with my tea and this Battenberg-style cake really hits the spot. Sweet but not cloying and feels a bit fancy. It’s always been on my list of things to try, but have never had the chance. Plus, I’ve only ever seen it in conventional bakeries so it’s full of gluten & stuff, and that’s a hard pass for me.

The traditional Battenberg is presented as a 2×2 pink & white checkerboard. I prefer a 2×3 pattern as it makes even a thin slice of cake appear larger and more decadent. If you don’t care for shortening, feel free to use all butter for this one.





0/11 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
  • Icing


0/8 Instructions
  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Grease two identical 1-pound loaf tins with straight sides. Line the tins with baking parchment and then grease the parchment.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening, and sugar until pale & fluffy (about 2 or 3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add extract and mix thoroughly. Remove the bowl from the mixer and grab your favorite wooden spoon. Add flour and mix until just combined and the batter is smooth. DO NOT OVERBEAT!
  • Spoon half your mixture into one prepared tin. Starting with a very small amount, add food coloring to the remaining batter until your desired pink is achieved. Spoon your pink batter into the remaining prepared tin.
  • Bake for 22-28 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs attached. When gently touched, the surface of the cake should spring back. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Measure out your jam (approximate is fine) into a small bowl and stir vigorously to loosen it up. Add a little warm water to make it very spreadable. Runny is good.
  • When your cakes are cool, move them to a cutting board and slice each into 3 long & narrow rectangles. With a small offset spatula or palette knife, spread the top and sides of each cake piece. Arrange your now sticky cake pieces into a checkerboard pattern. Spread the remaning jam over the top and sides of the assembled cake.
  • Dust a clean work surface with powdered sugar. Unwrap your marzipan and knead on the sugared surface until it warms up a little and is smoother. Dust with sugar again. Roll out your marzipan into a rectangle that measures approximately 30 x 30cm. Trim your edges. Place the cake in the center of the marzipan, wrapping it up and over the long sides of the cake, smoothing as you go. Create a seam in the center of the cake. Trim any excess. Turn your cake over so the seam is on the underside. Trim a thin slice off each end with a very sharp knife to neaten things up.
  • Slice, serve, and enjoy with your favorite tea.


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