Blog Checking Lines: Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.
Before this challenge, I had never heard of or eaten Battenberg cake. It’s a fun little cake to make and looks impressive. The flavor combinations are limited to the imagination though commonly seem to include pink and white. The cake is traditionally oblong, composed of two contrasting colored cakes, held together with jam or buttercream and wrapped in marzipan. We are not very interested in non-chocolate cake in this household, so I opted to make a chocolate hazelnut Battenberg cake. I flavored half of the cake with ground hazelnuts and cocoa and the other half with ground almonds and almond extract. I held the pieces together with a creamy ganache made from smooth hazelnut chocolate spread and whipping cream. I also added some cocoa powder to my marzipan recipe for a dark coating. I then decorated the top with the traditional check marks and some candied hazelnuts.
One of the great things about this recipe is that it makes a pretty small cake. It’s a nice size for a ladies lunch or tea or a small dinner party. Though there are specialized pans for making the Battenberg cake, Mandy cleverly demonstrated how to make our own divided pan using an 8″x8″ square pan, foil and parchment.
For a demo of assembling the cake, there is a great video with Mary Berry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4KsFpwmKUA.
- For the cake:
- ¾ cup (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
- ¾ cup (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1¼ cups (6 oz) self-rising flour
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup (3 oz) ground almonds
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- red food coloring, paste, liquid or gel
- To Finish
- ⅓ cup (3½ oz) apricot jam
- 1 cup (8 oz) Marzipan, natural or yellow
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Grease an 8" square baking tin with butter
- Line the tin with parchment paper, creating a divide in the middle with the parchment (or foil).
- Whisk together the dry ingredients then combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl and beat together just until the the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth.
- Spoon half the mixture into one side of the prepared tin.
- Add a few drops of red food coloring liquid/gel/paste to the remaining batter, stir until the color is thoroughly distributed, add more color if needed.
- Spoon the pink batter into the other half of the prepared baking tin
- Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, making sure batter is in each corner.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
- Once completely cook, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife.
- Cut each colored sponge in half lengthways so that you are left with four long strips of cake.
- Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is as neat and even as possible.
- Gently heat the jam and pass through a small sieve.
- Brush warmed jam onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern.
- Dust a large flat surface with powdered sugar then roll the marzipan in an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap the cake.
- Brush the top of the cake with jam.
- Place the cake on the marzipan, jam side down.
- Brush the remaining three sides with jam.
- Press the marzipan around the cake, making sure the join is either neatly in the one corner or underneath the cake once turned over.
- Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with a knife.
- Neaten the ends of the cake and remove the excess marzipan by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern.