The marzipan wasn’t enough to use around a battenburg-style cake so I decided on baking it into a nutty sponge cake. I rather like the idea of the cake looking like a normal sponge only to reveal a layer of marzipan when cut into. Enclosing it entirely in the batter also meant that it retained its bold colour.
No icing needed for this rich fragrant sponge; the topping is simply some chopped pistachios mixed with honey. I put this on top of the sponge while it was still warm so any excess honey would be absorbed into the sponge making it even more soft and moist. Cakes like this age so well too as the nuts release their oils over time and the flavour and texture is enhanced.
If you don’t have (or indeed, don’t like) marzipan, the cake would still be lovely without it. You could have it as a plain sponge, or cut the sponge through on baking and fill with buttercream. What I hadn’t banked on (this is my last attempt to sway you to use marzipan!), was that the sponge under the marzipan absorbed the oils from it as it baked and ended up crisp and delicious.
Personally, I see this as more of a dessert cake simply because of the rich nuttiness of the sponge. It isn’t a dry crumbed sponge. Serve either warm or at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream or even some natural yoghurt.
200g caster sugar
120g ground almonds
100g ground pistachios – make this yourself by grinding pistachios to fine powder in a food processor
50g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g pistachio or almond marzipan
1 tablespoon runny honey – just enough to coat the nuts