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Pistachio Lemon Battenberg Cake
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5 from 2 votes

Pistachio Lemon Battenberg Cake with Pistachio marzipan

The quantities listed are JUST sufficient to fill a 8" x 6" cake tin and to cover the resulting cake. If your tin is bigger adjust the measurements accordingly
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: battenberg, battenburg, cake, checkerboard, chess, lemon, marzipan, pistachio, sponge
Servings: 6 slices
Author: Jane Saunders | LittleSugarSnaps


For the Lemon Cake

  • 75 g/ 3oz butter (softened)
  • 75 g/ 3oz Caster sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 tbsp Lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 75 g/ 3oz Plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • Yellow food colouring gel (optional)

For the Pistachio Cake

  • 75 g/ 3 oz Butter (softened)
  • 75 g/ 3 oz Caster Sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp Whole (full fat) Milk
  • 45 g/ 1 1/2 oz Plain (all purpose) flour
  • 30 g/ 1 oz Pistachio nuts (out of shell, unsalted)
  • Green food colouring gel (optional)

For the Pistachio Marzipan

  • 100 g/ 3 1/2 oz Icing (confectionary) sugar
  • 90 g/ 3 oz Caster sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 100 g/ 3 1/2 oz Pistachios (out of shell, unsalted)
  • 75 g/ 3 oz Almonds (blanched)
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice


  • 3 tbsp Lemon curd
  • 1 tsp Caster sugar



  • Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F/ GM4
  • Grind the nuts (separately) in a coffee grinder or a food processor until finely milled and powdery. Take care not to grind for too long else the nuts will start to release oils and become 'wet'
  • If using the 8" x 6" Battenberg tin grease it well (including the removable dividers and line the base of the pan neatly with baking parchment
  • If using a regular oblong cake pan check the measurements. If it is larger than 8" x 6" you will need to scale up this recipe accordingly (any leftover batter from scaling up can be made into cupcakes). Grease & line the sides and base of the pan then divide in the middle of the tin with a thick folded piece of foil lined greaseproof paper (click for a video tutorial)

For the Lemon Cake

  • Beat the butter and sugar together with electric beaters until pale and fluffy
  • Crack the egg into a jug, beat with a fork, then add to the creamed butter & sugar a little at a time, beating well between additions. This helps to prevent curdling
  • Once the egg has been incorporated stir in the lemon zest & juice and a small dab of yellow colouring if using
  • Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then fold half into the cake batter, followed by the remainder. Fold into the flour until fully blended, but take care not to overmix the batter
  • If using the specialist Battenberg tin, divide the lemon cake batter between 2 sections
  • If using the regular oblong tin, divided in the centre with parchment, spoon the batter into one half of the tin

For the Lemon Cake

  • Beat the butter and sugar together with electric beaters until pale and fluffy
  • Crack the egg into a jug, beat with a fork, then add to the creamed butter & sugar a little at a time, beating well between additions
  • Once the egg has been incorporated stir in the milk and a small dab of green colouring if using
  • Sive the flour, ground pistachios and baking powder into a bowl. Again, fold half into the cake batter, followed by the remainder
  • Use this batter to fill the remaining section(s) of the cake tin you are using

Baking the Cakes

  • Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes until it is springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the tin
  • When cool, slice away any excess sponge that has risen above the tin using a serrated knife. Carefully remove each section from the tin (if you have used a regular baking tin you will need to slice both cakes in half lengthways to give 4 strips of cake in total

Make the Marzipan

  • Fill a sink 3 inches deep with cold water
  • Put the sugars and egg into a medium sized heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water
  • Using electric beaters whisk the mixture for around 10 minutes until the temperature registers 50-60C/ 125-140F and the mixtures falls into ribbons than do not blend straight back in when the beaters are lifted out
  • Put the bowl into the sink for 2 minutes to stop the mixture cooking further
  • Remove from the sink and beat in the lemon juice. Continue to whisk until the temperature has dropped to 25C/ 75F and the mixture has thicken further
  • Add the ground pistachio nuts & ground almonds, along with a small dab of food colouring (if using) and stir in
  • Tip onto a work surface and knead briefly until an even colour is attained throughout. Add a little extra icing sugar (sieved) if the mixture is too sticky. You are aiming for a soft, but not sticky consistency, similar to pastry

Assemble the cake

  • Brush lemon curd along the length of 1 piece of lemon cake and join a length of pistachio cake to it. Repeat with the reaming cakes. Brush the top of the first pair of cakes with more lemon curd and top with the remaining cakes to create a chequered pattern 
  • Draw a template to aid rolling out the marzipan. Mark it on baking parchment, flip it over and use this as a rolling out guide (ensure you turn the parchment over so the ink does not colour your marzipan. For a cake made in the 8" x 6" pan draw a rectangle 8" x 12"
  • Roll the marzipan out on the parchment. There is sufficient marzipan to cover the cake, but there will be very little spare (don't be tempted to nibble). Take your time and roll until the template is filled to ensure the entire cake is covered.
  • When ready to cover the cake, brush the long sides of the cake with marzipan (don't cover the chequered ends though). Lay onto the marzipan, lining it up with one edge. Using the parchment to guide the cake and marzipan carefully wrap the marzipan around the cake as tightly as you can. Turn the cake over so that the edge where the marzipan meets is on the bottom
  • Trim the ends of the cake to neaten, then score a diamond pattern onto the top of the cake using a sharp knife. Scatter with a tsp caster sugar and consume within 2 days