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Rose and pistachio Battenburg cake

Perfect for an upcoming bake sale - this colourful recipe gives the classic Battenberg a middle-eastern twist with the delicate hint of rose and pistachio. Almost too pretty to eat...

Original recipe provided by RSPCA Assured

Recipe info

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Serves: 8 to 10


  • 50g pistachio nuts, lightly toasted and cooled
  • 175g unsalted soft butter
  • 175g caster sugar 
  • 3 RSPCA Assured eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • green food colouring 
  • 1-2 tbsp RSPCA Assured milk
  • 1/2 tsp rose water
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon 
  • pink food colouring 
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • 450g white marzipan
  • 5 tbsp seedless raspberry jam


Step 1:

If you don't have a Battenberg cake tin (these are pre-divided to allow you to cook both sponges at the same time), you can use greaseproof paper to divide your cake tin...

To do this, grease a 20cm square cake tin and take a piece of greaseproof paper that is the width of your tin and double the length. Fold the paper half widthways and line the tin with the fold facing upwards in the centre. Push the paper inwards so that the fold creates a peak the height of the tin with the remaining paper covering the bottom and sides of the tin.

Make sure that the divider neatly reaches the edges of the tin (gaps will cause the mixtures to combine). Grease the paper lining the bottom of the tin to help it stay in place.

Step 2:

Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 4. Grind your pre-toasted pistachio nuts in a food processor until you have a fine mixture.

Step 3:

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the RSPCA Assured eggs and the flour - one tablespoon at a time - mixing constantly. Make sure your mixture is smooth and consistent, then place half into another bowl.

Step 4:

In your first bowl, add most of the ground pistachios (keeping a tablespoon back for decoration) and a few drops of the green food colouring. Mix until well blended. If the mixture is a little stiff fold in some RSPCA Assured milk.

Step 5:

In your second bowl, add the rose water, lemon zest, 2 tsp lemon juice and a few drops of the pink food colouring. Mix until blended.

Step 6:

Spoon the pink mixture into one half of the tin and the pistachio mixture into the other half. Smooth until level.

Step 7:

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. Once cooled, remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack.

Step 8:

When cold, slice each cake in half vertically to give you four equal pieces. If necessary, trim the pieces so they are equal.

Step 9:

Lightly dust a work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to about 3mm thick. You need a piece that is about 35 x 25cm to cover the cake.

Step 10:

Warm the jam (be careful not to overheat) either in the microwave or in a small saucepan until it is slightly looser in consistency.

Step 11:

Lay a pink and a green slice side by side at one end of the marzipan, brushing jam in between to stick the sponges together.

Step 12:

Brush more jam on top of the sponges, then sandwich the remaining 2 slices on top, alternating colours to give a chequerboard effect.

Step 12:

Carefully lift up the marzipan and smooth over the cake with your hands. Pat slightly so the marzipan sticks to the jam and cake. 

Step 14:

Trim away the excess marzipan at the base of the cake and trim the ends of the cake using a sharp serrated knife. To finish, dust with icing sugar and a sprinkling of the remaining pistachio dust.


  • Don't be too heavy-handed with the rose water - too much can be overpowering.
  • Why not try different flavours? For example, coffee and walnut, chocolate and vanilla or orange and cranberry.

Have a successful bake sale

With a selection of delicious treats your bake sale is guaranteed to be a success, but you can make your fundraising event even better with posters, bunting and top-tips which are all available in our fundraising pack.

Request your fundraising pack today

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