Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease two 18cm square cake pans.
Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla essence.
Stir in flour, baking powder and salt gently. Add milk if needed.
Divide the mixture into 2 equal parts. Add food colouring to 1 part to make a deep pink color. Spread one coloured mixture evenly into each pan.
Bake in preheated oven until an inserted skewer comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto racks to cool.
Trim the edges from both cakes. Cut each cake lengthwise into 4 strips as wide as the cake is thick. Trim to make strips match.
Heat jam slightly. Spread on sides to glue 2 pink and 2 white strips together in checkerboard fashion. Spread all 4 sides of completed cake with jam. Repeat with remaining pink and white stripes.
Marzipan: Mix almonds, icing sugar, egg, lemon juice and almond extract together. Knead until smooth, adding a bit of lemon juice or water if too dry to roll. Add only 1/2 teaspoon at a time. It will be stiff. Divide into 2 equal parts.
Roll 1/2 of paste 3mm or so thick on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Cut to fit length of cake, and long enough to cover 4 sides leaving ends uncovered.
Lay cake on one end of marzipan. Wrap to completely enclose all 4 sides of cake pinching marzipan to seal. Roll in icing sugar.
Place with seal underneath on serving plate or store in plastic bag. Repeat for second cake. Chill and slice thinly to serve.
Used different ingredients.
Great honey cake. I added ground almonds and served with a milk syrup at Rosh Hashanah. Went over well and many requests for the recipe. - 18 Jul 2008
by TRIS ASIMOV
Used different ingredients.
Have made this cake three times now, each time it was a great success. I found it easier to roll the marzipan out between two sheets of cling film, which also helped when covering the sponge. I also added almond essence instead of vanilla. Will definitely make again. - 18 Jul 2008
by AILSA ROSE
I am only 14 but my Mum was a successful cook and I have entered many shows and cook at least 3 new things a week, cooking is definitely my passion and takes a lot of my time. This cake was luscious to eat and positively made my mouth water at the first bite. It was extremely light and fluffy, it is probably the nicest Battanburg I have ever made. The downside is I would recommend it only to fairly experienced as it is quite difficult to make nicely. Although it is fairly easy to make it taste nice the presentation is quite hard to get to look good. It is quite fiddley to make the different colours nice and even. If you've never made a Battenburg before don't be crestfallen if your first try looks a flop (mine was), it comes with practise. - 18 Jul 2008