A Bit of Batternberg


If I was going to be hung tomorrow and asked for a last meal I’d ask for a frothy coffee and a loaf-size slab of coffee and walnut cake. I like a bit of Battenberg cake too and can remember it being on the Gingham tablecloth-covered table at home many a time when I was a boy. The pink and yellow chequered squares laced with jam and all wrapped in marzipan make them too good-looking to eat. The supermarket alternatives are bland version of Mr Kipling’s.


The cake was supposed to be named in honour of the marriage of Princess Victoria (one of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters) to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. Battenberg is a town in Hesse in central Germany and is the seat of the aristocratic family known in Britain as Mountbatten.


The origins aren’t clear though and early recipes show it was called "Domino Cake", "Neapolitan Roll" or "Church Window Cake." The Oxford Companion to Food says"Battenberg cake" first appeared in print in 1903 but in 1898 a "Battenburg cake" appeared in a baker and confectioners shop. Black and white checkers on emergency vehicles in the UK were “Battenbergs” because of their resemblance to the cake.


I saw a painting someone had done of a raspberry pavlova and thought I’d paint something that wouldn’t take very long. Here it is after a happy hour or two of daubing away.




John Paul Getty owned original paintings by Rubens and Renoir. Perhaps he’d like to buy mine for say £75,000…