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Dark Battenburg

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225 g (8 oz) soft margarine
225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
150 g (6 oz) self-raising flour, sifted
teaspoon (2.5 ml) vanilla essence
65 g (2 oz) cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk
4 tablespoons apricot jam, melted
450 g (1 lb) white almond paste


Serves: 12


1. Grease and line a 5 cm (2 inch) deep, 26 x 13 cm (10 x 5 inch) rectangular tin. Cut a 26 x 10 cm (10 x 4 inch) rectangle of foil, fold in half lengthways, and use it to divide the tin down the middle.

2. Beat together the margarine and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Put half the mixture into a separate clean bowl.

3. Fold 100 g (4 oz) of the flour and the vanilla essence into one bowl and the remaining flour, 50 g (2 oz) of the cocoa and the milk into the other bowl.

4. Spoon the vanilla mixture into one half of the tin and the chocolate mixture into the other. Place in a preheated oven, 180˚C (350˚F), Gas Mark 4, for 30-35 minutes, or until well risen. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

5. Trim the cakes to equal sizes and cut in half lengthways. Brush the sides with jam.

6. Fix alternate colours of cake together to form the main cake and press together gently. Brush the cake with the remaining jam.

7. Knead the remaining cocoa into the almond paste. Roll out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to a 30 x 26 cm (12 x 10 inch) rectangle. Put the cake in the centre of the almond paste, wrap the paste over the cake, and pinch the edges together to seal. Trim the ends. Put the cake on a serving plate with the seam side down. Using cake decorating crimpers or a fork, mark a pattern along the top of the cake.

VARIATION:- For a traditional yellow and pink Battenburg, use 225 g (8 oz) of flour and omit the cocoa and milk. Divide the mixture equally between 2 bowls. Flavour half the mixture with vanilla, and colour the other half with a few drops of pink food colouring. If you like, use melted, sieved raspberry jam instead of apricot. Cover with yellow or pink almond paste.


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