So, last week’s Weekly Bake-Off challenge was the Battenburg Cake.
Thankfully, this had just been featured on the Great British Bake-Off Masterclass programme, which I had recorded, so I had the lovely Mary Berry to refer to on the V+ Box for hints and tips!
On the programme, Mary did a twist on the traditional recipe by going for a Coffee & Walnut Battenburg.
I am not a huge fan of either of these flavours (without chocolate accompanying them), so I decided to go for the traditional recipe, in all it’s pink and yellow glory. I loved this cake as a child… very girly!
So I started off by prepping my cake tin.
On the GBBO Masterclass Mary used foil-lined baking parchment – definitely worth investing in if you plan to make Battenburg. I spent too long fiddling round with my flimsy baking parchment, and ended up inserting a piece of card in the fold until I was happy that it was rigid enough to support my mixture.
Next step: prepare the sponge batter, then fill the tin, admire my handywork, and then bake!
Once cooled: I cut the cakes into even strips, paste with the apricot jam, assemble, and cover with marzipan.
Now this was my first time using marzipan, and I think it shows.
Next time, I will do better. Sadly, I rolled the marzipan out too thin, which meant the finish was not as smooth, or as even, as I would have hoped for.
Finally I decorated with little pink and yellow sugarpaste flowers, et Voila…
This was one of the more stressful cakes I have baked lately. Next time, I would be much more confident, and hope to achieve a better looking cake also!
The recipe that follows is a composite of the Hairy Bikers’ recipe and Mary Berry’s recipe.
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Grease and line a 20cm/8in square, shallow cake tin.
Cut out a piece of foil-lined baking parchment that is 7.5cm/3in longer than the length of the tin.
Fold the paper in half widthways.
Open out the parchment and push up the centre fold to make a 4cm/1½in pleat.
Line the base of the tin with this, making sure the pleat runs down the centre of the tin, making two rectangular ‘tins’ within the tin.
Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and ground almonds in a large bowl for about 2-3 minutes, or until smooth.
Spoon half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and 1½ teaspoons of the milk, and set aside.
Add a small dab of the pink food colouring into the remaining mixture, along with the remaining 1½ teaspoons of the milk, and stir until well combined, and colour even.
Spoon the cake batters into each side of the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the sponges have risen.
A fine skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Cool in the tin for five minutes, then slide a knife around the outside of each sponge and turn them out onto a wire rack. If the sponges have risen unevenly, press the surface gently until level. Leave until completely cold.
Warm the apricot jam in a saucepan then press through a fine sieve.
Trim the crispy outer edges off the cooled cake with a serrated knife, then cut and trim into 4 equal strips.
Brush the long side of one of the sponges with jam and sandwich together with a sponge of a contrasting colour. Do the same with the other two sponges.
Sandwich the two pairs of sponges together like a chequerboard and brush the top and sides with jam.
Cut two pieces of string, one that is the length of the assembled cake and one that will wrap all around it.
Roll the marzipan out, on a work surface lightly dusted with sifted icing sugar, into an oblong the length of the cake and sufficiently wide to wrap around the cake, using the pieces of string as your measuring guide.
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 edges together to make a firm join.
Turn back over with the seam underneath, trim a thin slice off each end and place on a serving plate.