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Metre-long cake

Wed, 21 April, 2021

Like Battenberg or marble cake, the metre-long cake is a two-tone jigsaw puzzle of a cake. Plain and chocolate sponge stripes with jam filling and covered with chocolate glaze - quite a bit of effort, totally worth it.

one metre cake


This is traditionally known as ‘metre-long cake’, metrowiec, in Poland where it originates from. At least to my knowledge. It is also sometimes called a caterpillar cake (though not the kind involved in legal actions), both names referring to its length – it’s a loooong cake.

But the first name is a lie actually – it’s nowhere near a metre long. Perhaps in the olden days, the days of those lavish recipes of dozens of eggs and pounds of flour, perhaps it was a metre long then. But wouldn’t it in fact be a yard cake then?

Whether it was cut down to size at some point in history or something else happened, it is barely longer than two standard loaf tins lined one after the other – about 60cm in all. What a grandiose name it has! On the other hand Paris-Brest is a mere éclairé, so there.

metrowiec with jam

What is metre-long cake like?

It has a lot in common with Battenberg, as I only realised recently. Both are two-tone sponge baked separately, then cut, sliced and spliced by means of a tasty glue: jam or frosting. Battenberg of course is more of a showman, featuring lurid pink and yellow colours in a chessboard pattern, slathered with jam and wrapped up in thick marzipan just in case it wasn’t rich enough.

Metre-long cake is more modest: tasteful pale and chocolate arranged into vertical stripes when you cut it, jauntily, on a diagonal. There’s no marzipan but a chocolate glaze – not so rich if like me you use dark chocolate and no extra sugar to make it.

The classic metrowiec is filled with pastry cream aka custard buttercream between the slices. My version is better (of course). I use apricot jam spread on the slices, and however strange it sounds to use jam for sharpness and tang, it does add it to the cake in the way crème pâtissière would only add more sickly sweetness.

two tone sponge cake with jam filling

The sponge and how to make it the easy way

The sponge is very interesting: who ever thought of adding water to cake batter? But it works very well to make light and airy, fluffy sponge that I’m happy to use in other cake contexts.

The classic approach is to separate eggs, beat the whites to stiff peaks then turn it into a meringue by adding sugar bit by bit. That is followed by yolks, the weird water-oil emulsion and finally flour, gently folded.

The orthodox procedure also tells to make each cake separately, the pale and the cocoa-coloured, but life is far too short to wait so long for cake so in the recipe below I’ve taken a shortcut. Make the batter in bulk till the flour addition stage, then divide it in two. Half is finished with cocoa powder and the other half with a little more flour to compensate.

But I have to tell you there is an even better shortcut to it. Provided the eggs are at room temperature, as they should be for baking at all times, you can beat the whole eggs without separating. Which, as I’m aware, is the element most off-putting in cake baking.

stripe cake with apricot jam and chocolate glaze

A cake or a jigsaw puzzle?

Once the two sponge loaves are baked and cooled, it is a lot like making sandwiches for a school fete: slicing, spreading and stacking. The slices might not want to stay put in which case the back and front will need propping up. Find a board or tray long enough for this (not quite a) metre-long cake and chill it briefly to set.

The glaze is geniusly simple: dark chocolate melted in half the amount of butter. Similar to ganache, it looks more lustrous and it’s easy to spread. Ganache can be used in its place if that’s the preference: chocolate melted with boiling cream in similar proportions as the butter glaze.

Metre-long cake

Servings: 20Time: 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 280g (214 cup) plain flour plus 16g (2 tbsp.) extra for the plain cake
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 16g (2 tbsp.) cocoa powder
  • 6 medium eggs, separated
  • a pinch of salt
  • 280g (114 cup) caster sugar
  • 150ml (23 cup) groundnut oil
  • 150ml (23 cup) warm water
  • 1 tsp orange essence
  • 1 jar of smooth apricot jam
  • For the glaze:
  • 200g (7 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g (7 tbsp.) butter


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Line 2 loaf tins with parchment or thoroughly butter and flour them.

2. Stir the baking powder into the 280g flour. Prepare the extra flour and the cocoa powder in separate little bowls.

sponge ingredients

3. Place the egg whites in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer. Add salt and beat at high speed with a balloon whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating at high speed. Continue beating, adding the egg yolks one by one. Beat in first the oil and then the water adding it in a thin drizzle. The batter will be very runny at this stage.

4. Change the mixer attachment to paddle/all-purpose and add the main amount of flour. Mix it in at low speed until combined.

5. Divide the batter in half into another large bowl; in my case it was 583g each portion, but it will depend on the size of eggs.

making plain and chocolate sponge batter

6. Whisk in the extra flour and orange essence into one portion of batter and the cocoa powder into the other. Pour each batter into prepared loaf tins and transfer to the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.

7. Leave the cakes for a few minutes in the switched off oven with the door slightly ajar. Transfer onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely (the cakes can be baked ahead the night before).

plain and chocolate sponge

8. Unmould the cakes onto a large chopping board and peel off the parchment, if using. Cut them both into 2cm thick slices with a bread or pastry knife.

9. If the jam is very thick, warm it up in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water.

10. Staring from the crust, spread each slice generously with the jam, alternating the plain and dark coloured slices. Stack them on a large tray pressing together. Chill in the fridge to set.

building metre cake

11. For the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the chocolate and take it off the heat. Leave it to stand for 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth.

12. Spoon the glaze liberally over the top and the sides of the chilled cake. Return it to the fridge for an hour to set but return to room temperature before serving.

metre cake with chocolate glaze

13. Slice the cake on the diagonal, across at least 3 slices.

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