SPRING is well and truly here and I'm already grumbling about birdsong waking me at 5am ... but I miss it dreadfully when it stops in Autumn too.

We are seeing the queues of tourists and caravans that are the lifeblood for so many businesses in the area now too ... and grumble just as unreasonably, there would be few businesses unaffected if they all went overseas for their holidays and our county would have few of the wonderful cafes and restaurants we all enjoy so much.

I learnt soon after we moved here, 14 years ago now, that the magic hour for beaches during summer was about 6pm, when the tourists headed back to their accommodation for the night but the light was perfect and the heat of the day had just eased a little, most local beaches see a trickle of locals heading down, BBQs and fishing rods in tow, to enjoy the best couple of hours of the day.

At my café we try new cakes and dishes regularly, we try to stay familiar too, so you know we've always got our ever popular Brownies and Mac 'n' Cheese on the menu but also something new for a bit of change will be there too.

One that proved very popular recently was a Battenburg Cake ... named after the town and family in Germany but better known to many of us by the Anglicised version of the name ...Mountbatten.

Here's my recipe for a Battenburg cake, which is great fun to make with the kids! I've tweaked the flavours a little for this recipe.

This cake looks like a classic but has an unusual flavour, rose. Give it a try with different flavour and colour combinations. Liquorice with black colouring is very dramatic and Lavender with blue colouring looks fantastic.

Note: To get strong colours, you must use cake colouring pastes; they’re available on the internet.

Battenburg Cake

40 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook

  • 1 packet / 250g Marzipan
  • Jar of smooth Apricot jam


  • 100g Self raising flour
  • 100g Butter, softened
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs

For the pink sponge, add:

  • ½ tsp Rose essence
  • A few dots of pink or red colouring paste

For the white sponge, add:

  • 50g Ground almonds

Mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix the eggs together in a separate bowl, then slowly add to the butter mixture (if the mixture starts to curdle, add a tblsp flour).

Fold in the rest of the flour until it has an even consistency (if the mixture won’t drop off the spoon, it’s too thick, so add a little warm water).

Divide the mixture in two, add colouring and rose essence to one and ground almonds to the other, fold in.

Divide the mixture equally between two buttered rectangular cake tins.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20 minutes. To test whether the cake is cooked, probe it in the middle with a skewer, if the skewer comes out clean, it’s cooked. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

When cool, use a serrated bread knife to slice equal sized rectangles.

Using the apricot jam, generously coat each rectangle and stick together to form the Battenburg shape.

Roll out the marzipan to the thickness of a £1 coin, ensuring it is adequate to cover the whole cake. Now coat the outside of the cake in jam, cover with the marzipan, overlap by 1/2” using the jam to glue it.

Trim with a pair of scissors, carefully slicing the ends with the serrated knife to create a clean shape.