This is one of my favourite recipes from my book The WI Vintage Teatime and seems to perfectly suit these drizzly May afternoons. Pretty as a picture, this chequered sponge, which is cemented by jam and covered in home-made marzipan, is said to have first been baked to celebrate Price Louis of Battenburg’s marriage to Princess Victoria in 1884. Miniature versions of these almondy delights are popping up on afternoon tea menus across the country.
Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 1-2 hours setting time
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
- 8oz butter or margarine
- 4 eggs
- raspberry jam
- 8oz sugar
- 8oz s-r flour
- 8oz almond paste
1 Prepare two oblong tins of equal size. cream the fat and sugar together and beat in the eggs.
2 Fold in the sifted flour and mix to a dropping consistency, adding a little hot water if necessary.
3 Put half the mixture into one of the tins; add cochineal to the remaining mixture to make a pale pink, and put into the second tin.
3 Bake for 25-30 minutes in a moderate oven and then cool.
4 Prepare almond paste. Trim the cakes and cut in 2 lengths from each one, approximately 1½ inches by 1½ inches. Spread the pieces with jam and stick together the colours alternating.
5 Wrap in greaseproof paper very tightly and leave for about an hour or two. Spread the outside with jam.
6 Coat the top, bottom and sides with thin almond paste and trim.
7 Crimp the edge and mark the top into a criss-cross pattern. Wrap the cake in paper again and keep for a day or two before using.