This British classic of sponge, jam and marzipan is well known for it distinct checkerboard pattern, flavoured with cherry extract and pistachio paste. The ends of the cake are exposed, so precision is everything — you can’t hide your mistakes with icing!
For the cake:
265 g butter, softened
265 g caster sugar
265 g self-rising flour
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cherry extract
1 tbsp pistachio paste
To assemble and decorate:
3/4 cup cherry jam
500 g marzipan
red food colouring
white rolling fondant
icing sugar (for rolling)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Take a long strip of parchment paper (8-inches by 15-inches) and make a 3-inch fold in the center. This will act as the division in the pan so that both flavours of sponge can bake at the same time. Line the pan with the parchment, keeping the division in the center.
Mix butter, sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla until well combined. Divide batter equally into two bowls.
To one bowl, add cherry extract. To the other bowl, add pistachio paste.
Spoon the cake batters into each side of the prepared pan and smooth the tops.
Bake until done, 25 - 30 minutes. Cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.
While cake cools, knead red food paste into fondant to colour it pink. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and set aside.
Place one sponge cake on top of the other. Trim the crust edges so both cakes are exactly the same size. Cut in each cake in half lengthwise to make 4 long rectangles (that are perfectly square).
Warm the cherry jam in a saucepan; then press through a sieve to strain out seeds.
Brush the long side of one of the sponge cakes with jam, then sandwich the sponge together with one of the opposite colour. Do the same with the other two sponges.
Place one pair of sponges on top of the other so the cake looks like a checker board. Brush the top and sides with jam.
Place the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar and roll thinly into a rectangle. It should be just large enough to wrap around the cake. Trim as needed.
Turn the cake upside down on the marzipan and brush the underside of the sponges with jam.
Wrap the marzipan around the cake, pressing it gently onto the surface of the sponges, and press the ends together to make a firm seam. Set aside.
Place the fondant on a surface dusted with icing sugar and roll into a rectangle large enough to just wrap around the cake. Trim as needed.
Brush the marzipan with water. Place the cake in the center of the fondant, seam side up. Wrap the fondant around the cake so the seams meet perfectly in the center. Adhere and trim as needed to make clean ends.
Decorate with cherries and pistachios.
Servings: 1 cake
approx. Per Serving