Mention the word Battenberg to any Brit & it immediately conjures up childhood memories of a favourite British treat brought out by grannies to have with afternoon tea. A cake of lurid yellow & pink squares stuck together with raspberry jam & covered in a layer of marzipan. However, this being a British dessert, the sponge would always be dry, the marzipan layer thin & the jam layer even thinner (hence the need for a cup of tea to add much needed moisture).
It may surprise you to know that the Dutch have their own take on the Battenberg cake… & thank the gods that it’s a whole lot nicer! In the cake aisles of the Dutch supermarket you can find packets of pale, cylindrical cakes partly covered in chocolate called Mergpijpjes. Bizarrely mergpijpje translates as ‘marrow pipe’, but these aren’t to be confused with dog biscuits or animal bones.
The difference is not only in the eye of the beholder (say bye bye to the neon pink & urine yellow) but also in taste. A nice thick coating of marzipan encloses a small amount of sponge, a creamy filling & (depending on the make) a dollop of jam between the two. It’s probably more jam than you would find in the entirety of a British Battenberg cake. Oh & there’s the chocolate of course… who can say no to marzipan & chocolate?
Despite being somewhat sweeter than its British counterpart these cakes are incredibly moreish & are definitely worth looking out for to have with a nice strong coffee.
Sorry childhood… I prefer Johnny Foreigner’s