This may look little a bit complicated but it’s so pretty and tastes so much better than any shop-bought one that it’s worth making. Stick any crumbly bits back together with jam before you marzipan, it’s less likely to show than you’d think.
175g (6oz) butter, softened
175g (6oz) caster sugar
3 medium eggs
175g (6oz) self-raising flour
A few drops of red or pink liquid food colouring
10-12tbsp apricot glaze, or sieved apricot jam
350g (12oz) white marzipan
Icing sugar, for dusting
26 x 16.5cm (10 1/4in x 6 1/2in) oblong tin, lined with baking parchment
- Cut a piece of baking parchment the length of the tin and fold it in half, so that it’s just higher than the height of the tin.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, adding a dessert spoonful of flour with each egg to help prevent the mixture curdling. Fold in the remaining flour and the milk. Spoon half of the mixture into one half of the loaf tin, lengthways, and then place the strip of baking parchment in the tin, to keep the two colours of sponge separate during cooking.
- Colour the remaining cake mixture pink with the food colouring and spoon into the other half of the tin. Level the surface of the cake, and bake in the centre of a preheated oven at 180°C/350ºF/gas 4 for 25 – 30 mins, or until well risen and firm to the touch in the centre. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 – 10 mins, then turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- Cut the cake in half lengthways to separate the 2 colours of cake, trimming away the long edges, and neatening lines where the cakes were touching, if necessary. Cut these strips in half again, to give 4 strips (2 of each colour). Use a palette knife to spread a little apricot glaze/jam over the cake and stick them together in the chequerboard pattern. Roll the marzipan out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, to the length of the cake, and just over 4 times the width. Place the cake on the marzipan and roll the cake up in the marzipan, trimming away any excess at the join.
- Use a small knife to mark a criss-cross pattern on top of the cake. Press a fork down the length of each side on the top to pattern it. Cut off both ends to neaten the cake before serving.
- Top tip: Not suitable for freezing.