Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake

Every year, a week or two before the day, I start asking Jonty what kind of birthday cake he might like. Either a specific cake, or general flavours. Usually, I get a generic response that often includes the word chocolate. So I was quite surprised this year when he said he might like a Battenberg Cake (he’s never been so specific before).

A What-en-what Cake? You know, those checker-board cakes!

Ah yes, I did know. I have never eaten one, let alone actually made one, but that’s what Google is for, right? 🙂 | Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake

The classic Battenberg Cake has a white and pink checker board pattern inside and is held together with apricot jam and covered in Marzipan. It is most-definitely British in origin, making it a perfect choice for my British hubby!

When I started poking around online, my suspicions were confirmed – the pink portion of the cake is dyed with red food colouring. I prefer not to use artificial dyes, if possible. Also, my mind immediately went to a chocolate variety because, if you know Jonty at all, you know his love for chocolate.

And what jam pairs well with chocolate? You guessed it. And so began my Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake journey.

I’m not going to lie – this cake requires a tape measure, a calculator and a bit of patience. But I promise you it’s not difficult! The hardest part might be making your foil / parchment liner and really, that portion probably took me longer than necessary because I was multi-tasking while making it. The good thing is that it is absolutely worth the time and effort.

So, here’s my version of a Battenberg Cake, in a nutshell.

Start by prepare a 23-cm (9-inch) square cake pan:

  • Grease the bottoms and sides of the cake pan.
  • Cut a piece of tinfoil and a piece of parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
  • Fold the tinfoil / parchment in half, and then fold the centre over again to make a crease that is 5 cm wide. When you unfold the papers, the centre should pop up like a little tent. When you place this into your cake pan, this little tent will become the divider (see the pictures below).
  • Place this liner into your pan and start making the batter. | Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake

Make the cake batter:

  • The cake batter is a simple sponge cake recipe (so equal ratios of butter, eggs, sugar and flour). Half of the mixture is poured into one side of the prepared tin, and cocoa powder is mixed into the other half of the batter before pouring it into the other side.
  • Cream together some butter and sugar until it’s super light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and make sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next. If you don’t, your batter may look like it’s curdling. If this happens, just keep beating the mixture before adding the next egg.
  • The vanilla, flour and baking powder is added and whisked until combined.
  • Transfer half of the batter into another bowl (if you have a scale, this becomes really easy) and add a splash of milk.
  • In the remaining batter, the cocoa powder and more milk is added, and stirred to combine.
  • Each of the batters is poured into its respective cake pan side, and is baked at 350 F for about 28 to 30 minutes.

Assemble the Battenberg cake:

  • Time to get out your tape measure! Measure the height and width of each sponge cake, and decide how much you need to trim off the edges, in order to make the cake a square.
  • My sponges were wider than tall, but I didn’t waste a lot of extra cake, so I decided to make my Battenberg into a 3×2 rectangle, instead of the classic 2×2 square. The choice is yours!
  • Warm up some raspberry jam and use this as a glue to hold the cake pieces together.
  • On a counter sprinkled with icing sugar, roll out your marzipan into a rectangle, big enough to wrap around the cake (so the same length + 4 times the width).
  • Spread jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one end of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake, then roll it onto the marzipan. Do this until all sides of the cake are spread with jam and covered with marzipan.
  • Trim off the ends, to make everything nice and neat, and to show off your great checker board pattern! | Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg | Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake

You can eat this cake right away, or keep it tucked in the fridge until you’re ready for it. We nibbled away on it over the course of 3 or 4 days, and it almost tasted better the longer it sat! We just made sure to wrap it tightly in parchment paper to keep it from drying out.

So, what was the verdict for this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake?

Jonty loved it, and said it tasted just as good as he always remembered!

Moira loved it, and actually wants to make it again, because she’s pretty sure she can do an even better job the next time around!

I would call that a Birthday Success 🙂 | Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake

Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The classic Battenberg Cake takes on a twist, with chocolate and raspberry. Adapted from Baking Mad and Jamie Oliver recipes.
  • 150 g flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp milk, divided
  • 1 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 100 to 125 g raspberry jam (plus a few drops of water)
  • 225 g marzipan
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Prepare the cake pan:
  1. Grease the bottoms and sides of a 23-cm (9-inch) square pan.
  2. Cut a piece of tinfoil and parchment paper into a 21cm x 42cm rectangle. Grease the tinfoil and place the parchment paper on top.
  3. Fold the papers in half, then fold the centre over again to make a 5cm overlap. When you open the tinfoil/parchment paper, you should have an inverted tent in the centre. This becomes your cake pan divider.
  4. Place this into your greased cake pan and start making the batter.
For the cake batter:
  1. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg into the batter before adding the next egg. Then add in the vanilla extract.
  4. Whisk in the flour mixture until it is fully combined.
  5. Transfer half of the batter into another bowl. To this, add 1 tsp of milk.
  6. In the remaining batter, add the cocoa powder and remaining tsp of milk. Whisk to combine.
  7. Pour each batter into its respective side of the prepared cake pan. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake pan cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sponges from the pan and allow to cool completely.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Warm the raspberry jam with a few drops of water
  2. Slice each flavour of sponge cake into equal sizes, trimming off the edges in order to make them square.
  3. Place a chocolate and vanilla slice side by side and use the raspberry jam to glue the pieces together. Do this with the remaining pieces, making sure to alternate the colours.
  4. Roll out the marzipan on a counter top lightly sprinkled with icing sugar. The size of the marzipan should be the same length as your cake and 4 times the width.
  5. Spread more jam on the top of your cake, then invert this onto one edge of the marzipan. Spread jam on the next side of the cake before rolling it over the marzipan. Continue to do this for the remaining two sides of cake. So the entire cake will be covered with marzipan, and held together with the raspberry jam.
To serve:
  1. Trim off both ends of the cake, to even them up. Place the cake, seam side down, on a serving platter.
  2. Serve immediately, or allow to chill in the fridge before slicing.
This cake tastes even better on the day after baking. To store in the fridge, wrap it completely in parchment paper and place in a sealed container. It should keep like this for 3 or 4 days.

Enjoy this Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake! | Chocolate and Raspberry Battenberg Cake

Climb Eat Cycle Repeat | Eton Mess

Eton Mess-Ing in the Summer

Back when Jonty and I were young whippersnappers, we did the looong-distance dating thing (Saskatchewan to Yorkshire) for the first few years. To make things easier, I moved to the UK for a few multi-month stints. On one of those occasions, we lived with Jonty’s parents to save money. I realized one Pearson trait very quickly – Jonty’s family loves food. They live food. They talk about food while they’re eating food! I must not have found it very odd, because I soon joined in on the conversation, and have been talking about it ever since! It was during that period of my life when I think I finally started to get over many of my picky-eating habits (thank goodness!).

I discovered steamed puddings (oh, the treacle sponge!), fish pie, roast lamb with mint sauce, flapjack biscuits, cheese, glorious cheese, proper fish and chips, and so many other foods this prairie girl wasn’t used to. Everything was always made from scratch and, if you could elbow your way through 4 boys, seconds were encouraged.

The first time I had Eton Mess, was that summer. The second time I had Eton Mess, was 3 days later, because it was so fantastic, that everyone demanded that Jonty’s mom made it again (she may not remember this, but I do 🙂 ). I think it was one of the only times I experienced silence at the Pearson table – everyone was completely engaged in this dessert. And for good reason! Chewy meringue, local ripe-strawberries, homemade raspberry puree and whipped cream – it was fantastic!

Jonty, the Meringue Master, was mulling over making Eton Mess as a pre-birthday Birthday dessert for me a few weeks ago. What did I think? No complaints from me! | Eton mess

It was everything I remembered this dessert to be. | Eton mess

The only downside? | Eton mess

There wasn’t more of it!! | Eton mess

Eton Mess-Ing in the Summer
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 - 3 servings
  • Serving size: ⅓ recipe
  • Calories: 402
  • Fat: 13.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 8.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 71.1 g
  • Sugar: 65.5 g
  • Sodium: 34.2 mg
  • Fiber: 4.6 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 46.3 mg
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For the Meringue:
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 180 g superfine sugar (ratio of 1.5 sugar to 1 egg white, by weight)
  • ¼ tsp distilled white vinegar
For the fruit and cream:
  • 125 mL whipping cream
  • 5 - 6 good-sized strawberries, sliced
  • 1½ cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
To make the meringue:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer, mix the egg whites on medium speed for 1 minute, to get a good froth. Add the white vinegar (or cream of tartar), it acts as a stabilizer.
  3. Keep the mixer running on medium-high and add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing for 30 seconds or so in between each sugar addition (Jonty leaves our kitchen timer running, and just watches the time).
  4. When all the sugar has been added, mix on high for ~8 minutes (Jonty does 2-3 minutes per egg white), until the egg whites form stiff, highly-glossy peaks. The entire process takes about 15 minutes. This recipe makes about 12 (6-cm) meringues.
  5. Note: Depending on the size you make the meringues, you may have more or less than this, but they are great to munch on their own 🙂
  6. Using a metal spoon, drop the meringues onto the parchment-lined tray and place into the oven for 1 hour, until the meringues are crisp on the outside, and soft in the centre. Leave the meringues to cool completely before assembling the Eton Mess.
To assemble the Eton Mess:
  1. Whip the cream until you have soft peaks. Set aside. Slice the strawberries and set aside.
  2. Make the raspberry puree by placing the raspberries in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and let the raspberries simmer, mashing them down a bit as they cook. Once they start to thicken (about 10 minutes), remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Eton Mess can be assembled in individual glasses (as Jonty did here) or into one large bowl (like my mother-in-law did!). Break up the meringue into chunks and mix the whipped cream with the strawberries and a bit of the raspberry puree. Layer the glasses: meringue pieces, strawberry-whipped cream, raspberry puree (try to get two layers).
  4. Serve immediately, before the meringues soften.
When making the meringue:
Use a stainless steel mixing-bowl (no plastic!), it should be immaculately clean and completely dry!
Also, it's better if the egg whites are at room temperature (so this requires a bit of planning ahead)
Sugar and egg white ratio can be varied, this is the one we like the best!
If you don't have white vinegar, cream of tartar also works, or it can be skipped all together
Different cooking times will result in different style meringues, google can help if you're interested 🙂

Enjoy! | Eton mess