Coffee and Walnut Battenberg – The Great British Bake Off Technical Challenge Recipe

This is the short version of the Coffee and Walnut Battenberg recipe that the bakers had to follow in the first episode of the Season 2 of the Great British Bake Off. As they say in the episode, this is the “queen” Mary Berry’s recipe – the full recipe can be found here.

Some More Insights to the Challenge

The expectation here is to have “a perfect sponge which holds its form, a perfect symmetry, distinctive flavours, and also a very lovely, smooth exterior.”

It’s mentioned that all bakers have a full list of ingredients and measurements and a basic method – however, some details are missing. Even though the total time is not mentioned at the very beginning, we do get to know later that the time given to them was 2 hours.

This time there was not much discussion about what kind of instructions the bakers had and what kind they didn’t. We see some glimpses of their instruction sheets but nothing legible. So the instructions in the recipe are again my own interpretation – however, I tried to make the sentences the same length as seen from the recipe glimpses.

P.S. I haven’t added any pictures of the expected result for these challenge posts on purpose. It will be a lot more fun if someone finds the challenge and doesn’t know what the end result has to look like! For the list of all Technical Challenge recipes I’ve added so far, go see this post here.

If you decide to do this challenge – good luck! Don’t forget to share some pictures of your end result with me afterwards!


You’ll need:

  • A 20cm square, shallow cake tin.
  • Greaseproof baking paper
  • A few bowls
  • A (stand) mixer

Before starting…

  1. Gather the ingredients
  2. Set the timer to 2 hours.

On your marks, get set… BAKE!

The Great British Bake Off logo


Yield: 1 cake
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours

This is the short version of the recipe that the bakers had to follow in the 1st episode's Technical Challenge in the Season 2 of the Great British Bake Off. 


For the cake

  • 100g margarine
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g ground almonds
  • few drops vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp milk
  • 1½ tsp instant coffee powder
  • 25g shelled walnuts, chopped

For the coffee butter icing

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 40g butter, softened
  • ½ tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1½ tsp milk

To decorate the cake

  • 225g white marzipan
  • small walnut pieces


  1. Preheat the oven.
  2. Cut out a piece of greaseproof paper that is 7.5cm longer than the length of the tin. Fold the paper in half widthways. Open out the paper and push up the centre fold to make a 4cm in pleat. Line the base of the tin with this, making any adjustments to ensure the pleat runs down the centre of the tin making in effect two rectangular 'tins' within the tin.
  3. Put the margarine, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and ground almonds in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
  4. Spoon slightly more than half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and 1½ teaspoons of the milk. Set aside.
  5. Mix the coffee in the remaining 1½ teaspoons of milk, then stir this into the other bowl of mixture along with the chopped walnuts.
  6. Spoon the vanilla mixture into one half of the tin and the coffee-walnut mixture into the other half.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Make the butter icing.
  9. Cut and trim the cake into 4 equal strips. Lay one vanilla and one coffee-walnut strip next to each other, then use a little of the butter icing to stick them together.
  10. Spread a bit more icing on the top. Stick the remaining two strips together with icing and place them on top to create a chequerboard effect.
  11. Spread the icing to the rest over the remaining three sides of the cake and roll the cake over in the marzipan.
  12. Sift over some icing sugar and decorate with walnut pieces.

    Did you try this recipe?

    Share your experience down in the comments or let me know on Instagram!

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