perfect battenberg cake
1. Grease a 20 x 15cm Battenberg cake tin with butter, or if using an oblong tin, line with parchment paper. Use enough to cover the base and sides. Cut another piece of baking parchment as long as the tin. Fold the paper in half along its length – so it's just over the height of the tin. This last bit of paper will keep the two colours of sponge separate as they bake.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy – this should take about 10 minutes. You could use an electric mixer for this. Gradually beat in the eggs - if the mixture looks like curdling add a tablespoon of flour.
3. Fold in the remaining flour along with enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency.
4. Divide half the cake mixture between 2 sections of the battenburg tin. If you are using a normal tin, spoon half the mixture into one half of the tin – along its length. Then put the long strip of baking parchment in the middle of the tin.
5. Tinge the remaining cake mixture pink with food colouring and spoon into the remaining two sections of the battenberg tin, or add it to the other half of the tin. Bake for about 20 minutes, until firm to the touch.
6. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. It’s a good idea to bake this cake the day before assembling as it firms up and is easier to handle.
7. Trim both halves of cake so they are the same size. Cut each piece in half down their length so you have 2 long strips of each colour.
8. Warm the apricot glaze. Lay a strip of pink cake on a board and brush the top and sides with the glaze; put a plain strip alongside it and brush with more glaze in the same way. Finish with the other two strips on top, so you have a coloured checkerboard affect.
9. Brush the entire cake with the glaze. Roll the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar to a 20cm x 30 cm rectangle. Put the cake at one end of the oblong and encase with the marzipan. Serve sliced with the marzipan seam facing downwards.