BATTENBERG CAKE is a very light sponge cake with checkered patterns. The cake is covered with Marzipan and when sliced you’ll see the different sponge colors. The very common one is with pink and yellow squares (said to represent the four princes of Battenberg).I have had this Cake earlier,but never knew it by its name.
I believe this cake was created as a wedding cake for royalty. The first Battenberg cake was made to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria, to husband Prince Louis of Battenberg.It’s traditionally flavored with almond and has the signature Battenberg .The strips of sponge are glued together using jam (normally apricot) and the whole cake is covered in marzipan. Sometimes the edges are crimped and the top is patterned with a knife.
Although there are specialized Battenberg cake tins available, you don’t need one. This can be baked in a square baking tin and a divide made with foil to separate the two batters. This recipe really is all about simplicity.
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.
The recipe was also fairly simple, we could whisk together the dry ingredients; combine with the wet ingredients and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth. I wasn’t too sure about the outcome, so followed my own method.
TRADITIONAL BATTENBERG CAKE
Time Taken–1 hr including baking time( excluding cooling time)
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened & cut in cubes
¾ cup caster Sugar
1¼ cups self-raising flour
3 large eggs, room temp
½ cup ground almonds
3/4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
red food colouring, paste, liquid or gel ( I used Wilton’s burgandy color)
1/3 cup apricot Jam
1 cup / 8 oz marzipan
Preheat oven to moderate 350°F. Grease an 8”/20cm square baking tin with butter. Line the tin with parchment paper, creating a divide in the middle with the parchment (or foil).
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs one by one and beat until pale yellow; add the extract. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Now add it to the above mixture. Beat on medium speed until mixed. Spoon half the mixture into the one side of the prepared baking tin. Add a few drops of the food color 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 25-30mins until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean (it should shrink away from the sides of the pan). Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife. Cut each colored sponge in half length ways so that you are left with four long strips of sponge. Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is as neat and even as possible. Gently heat the apricot jam and pass through a small sieve. Brush warmed jam onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern (one yellow next to one pink. On top of that, one pink next to one yellow). Dust a large flat surface with icing 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 apricot jam. Place the cake on the marzipan, jam side down
- Tip: Either in the middle or to the one side of the marzipan
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 will be underneath the cake once turned over. Tip: If you put the sponge to the one side of the marzipan, I found it easiest to “roll” the sponge over and over onto the marzipan instead of lifting the marzipan up onto the sponge. Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with a knife, you can also crimp the top corners with your fingers to decorate. Neaten the ends of the cake and remove excess marzipan by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern.
Even though it was just a regular sponge cake, the technique is what mattered. I would love to try this again with more flavors. Overall an easy challenge; it has been a good learning too:). Thanks Mandy for a lovely challenge!