A classic cake for afternoon tea. If you prefer a more traditional Battenberg, use pale pink food colouring (instead or orange and black) to colour half of the sponge batter and leave the marzipan natural.
Using a double layer of 2 in 1 parchment and foil, divide a 20cm square cake tin in half by folding a barrier, greaseproof paper sides facing outwards. Grease the base and sides of the tin and greaseproof paper.
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a beater attachment for 3 -5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the almond extract and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix to a smooth batter. Do not overbeat.
Spoon half of the mixture into a separate bowl. Mix in enough orange food colouring paste to colour the batter bright orange. Spoon the mixture into one side of the tin.
Mix enough black food colouring paste to the remaining bowl of mixture to colour the batter dark black. Spoon the mixture into the other side of the tin.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out on a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
For the buttercream, using an electric hand whisk, whisk the softened butter and icing sugar together for 2-3 mins until pale, soft and creamy. Set aside.
Place the cakes on a chopping board and using a ruler trim the sides of each one to a make straight edges. Cut each cake in half lengthways to make 2 black and 2 orange sponges. Trim the tops if they are different heights to create 4 identical shaped square sponges.
Using a small palette knife, spread the icing along the long sides of the cakes and join one black and one orange slice together and then one black and one orange one on top creating a chequered pattern. Brush the apricot jam over all the long sides.
Knead orange food colouring paste into the marzipan to colour it bright orange. Roll out the marzipan on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to a rectangle measuring approx. 20 x 30cm. Trim the edges.
Place the cake onto the middle of the marzipan and wrap the marzipan around the cake, smoothing it over the sides and corners so it’s wrapped tight. Turn the cake over so the seam is on the underside. Trim a thin slice of cake off each end to neaten the ends. Using a sharp knife, score a criss-cross pattern in the marzipan on the top of the cake.