Quintessentially British, the Battenberg cake has been on The Wolseley menu since we opened our doors in 2003. Here, we explore the royal heritage of this cake and how we make ours.
Just as the building The Wolseley is housed in has an intriguing history, as does the Battenberg – making it the type of cake that sits perfectly on our Patisserie offer.
Quintessentially British, it’s rumoured to be a favourite of Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal ties don’t stop there, with history suggesting that the Battenberg cake was originally created for Queen Victoria, to celebrate the marriage of her granddaughter to Louis (then Prince Louis of Battenberg) in 1884.
As with all good stories, there are plot twists, with some saying its origins lie in an older British recipe known as ‘church window cake’ – so named for the pattern the cake’s layers create. In any event, the first recorded recipe for a Battenberg cake can be traced back to 1898 by contemporary food writer Frederick Vine; and like many older recipes, his calls for nine squares, not four. Whichever you choose to believe, there’s no doubting this a firm favourite at The Wolseley, having been on the menu since we first opened our doors back in 2003.
A true labour of love, our Pastry team make each Battenberg by hand over the course of three days.
Like all recipes in the Pastry Kitchen weights and measures must be precise. To ensure each and every Battenberg our team makes has the right texture – and the flavours to complement – the team follow a carefully constructed recipe. To see just how it’s done, watch this video for a look behind the scenes.
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Rich with pistachio, the sponge is soaked in a syrup made with Wild Thyme honey before being sandwiched together with our homemade marmalade.
As our Executive Chef, David Stevens, says: “As a cake it’s eye catching, people recognise Battenberg instantly and ultimately it tastes great… For me it needs to be enjoyed with tea or coffee. A perfect treat for afternoon tea.”
Our Battenberg is available by the slice and as part of our Afternoon Tea offer, served seven days a week.
Some of the sources consulted for this piece include: