Episode One: The Great Irish Bake Off Challenge – Rose and Lemon Battenberg Cake

Here we go!  Week one of my Great Irish Bake Off (GIBO) challenge and a regular blog post!  For me, the most important thing about battenburg cake is the story!  Some say the true origin of the cake is unknown.  Of all the theories my favorite is the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenberg. The four squares represented the four Battenberg Princes Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph.  Maybe I should have left the final photo to the end, but I could not wait to show you!

Close up right angle


(I am using the recipe direct from the GIBO/TV3 site)

Gathering Ingredients


Battenberg Cake

  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 175g Self Raising flour
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Rose water
  • Red food colouring gel

 Almond Paste

  • 200g ground almonds
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 30g icing sugar (for dusting)
  • 3 drops vanilla extract
  • 80ml water
  • 50ml pasteurised egg white


  • 150g apricot jam
  • Icing Sugar (for dusting)
  • 20cm Square Cake Tin


Preparing the tin.

  1. Grease the sides of a 20cm square cake tin and line the base with a square of baking parchment.
  2. Using parchment paper, make a divider which separates the tin into 2 sides.
  3. Cut out a large square of parchment, fold in half and on the open edges on each side, fold another flap (about 3-4 cm) facing outwards. When you turn it upside down, it should look like a t shape.

 Almond Paste Recipe

  1. In a bowl, sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar together.
  2. Add the egg whites, the water and the vanilla extract.
  3. Mix it slowly until it comes together into a firm dough.  It’ll be quite sticky at the beginning but the more you work with it, the firmer it’ll become.
  4. Wrap it in clingfilm and leave in the fridge until you need to use it.

Cake recipe

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees/ 150 degrees fan.
  2. Using an electric hand whisk, cream the butter until it’s soft and pale. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating all the time, then sift in the flour, folding it in to combine.
  3. Divide the mixture between two bowls. Add the food colouring & the rose water to one mixture.
  4. Add the juice and zest of one lemon to the other mixture.
  5. Place the folded piece of parchment paper into the tin, dividing the tin in half. Pour the batters into the tin.
  6. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. The cake will be ready if you touch the top of it and it springs back.
  7. Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the tin and place on the wire rack to cool down completely.

Cake in tin


  1. Gently heat the jam until it’s runny and then push it through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.
  2. When cake is cooled, cut 2 even rectangle shapes from the rose cake and 2 from the lemon cake. Brush them lightly with jam and stick them together in a Battenberg pattern.
  3. Roll out the marzipan on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar.
  4. Spread jam onto the marzipan and onto the outer layers of the cake.
  5. Roll the cake in the marzipan.
  6. Cut off the edges to tidy the ends up.
  7. Score the marzipan gently on top creating a diamond pattern.


Being The Simple Owl, and staying true to our promise to keep things simple, here are a few shortcuts you could use for this recipe.  Buy ready made marzipan.  Will it taste as good?  I am not the person to tell you that, but if it takes out a step and encourages you try this recipe, its worth it.  I stuck to the rules of 12cm long and 6cm square, because that was my promise, but don’t get hung up over it the first time.  Mine is slightly off!  I really enjoyed my first challenge and am very pleased with myself!  My taste testers seem happy enough and remain in a living state, so I think we are OK!  What will episode two bring ??

Close up



2 thoughts on “Episode One: The Great Irish Bake Off Challenge – Rose and Lemon Battenberg Cake

  1. Well done Simone. That’s impressive! I love the back story too.
    OOOH I can smell the almonds……..


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