Monday, 5 August 2013

A Classic Challenge!

I think I literally jumped in at the deep end with this one. Until last Christmas I had never even tried marzipan, and I had never eaten a Battenburg, talk about make one. After a little bit of research (Wikipedia...) I was disappointed to learn that the origin of Battenburg cake is unknown. So sadly, there's no interesting fact about it, other than it's a teatime classic.

Half of the challenge of this cake is the construction, and trying to keep it neat. But it can be done and have no fear, this post will be picture heavy! This recipe makes two cakes, which when you make this for the first time is a blessing. It means you can work out how to do it on the first cake without worrying too much about keeping it tidy. My second cake was a dream!

I used Edd Kimber's recipe for this as a guide.

Battenburg Cake

4 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
275g caster sugar
185g unsalted butter
235g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
red and yellow gel food colouring
500g marzipan
170g raspberry jam

Stick the oven on and pre-heat to 180C/160F and line a 23 x 33cm brownie pan with baking parchment, creating a divide down the centre. 
Put the eggs, vanilla & almond extract and 70g sugar in a large bowl. Whisk using a machine or by hand until the eggs are thick and fall from the whisk slowly in a ribbon, adding the remaining sugar as you go.
In another bowl mix the softened butter, flour and baking powder. Add a quarter of the egg mixture, and combine, then add a little more, and combine. Continue until all the egg and flour mixture are combined. 
Then divide the mixture equally between two bowls and add a small amount of food colouring to each (gel food colouring is potent, so be careful not to overdo it!) Pour the yellow mixture into one half of the prepared tin and the pink batter into the other. 
Bake for 18 - 22 minutes, or until a cocktail stick comes out from the centre of the cake clean. 
Allow to cool completely before the construction!

Once cool, trim the edges of the cakes (including the top if it forms a skin), then cut the cakes length-ways into four equal sized pieces. You should then have 8 pieces in total, 4 yellow and 4 pink. 

Now divide your marzipan into 2 and roll out each piece (dusting the surface with icing sugar), ensuring each piece is long enough for the length and width of the cake. 
Brush the marzipan with the jam and stack the cakes, coating each side with a layer of jam. (Don't forget to alternate the colours).
Finally, roll the remaining marzipan around the cake and trim the excess length (as close to the cake as you can). Cut a slice off each end to create a neat finish (and eat the scraps). 
Repeat with the second cake. 

The result will be two Battenburg Cake's, a slice of which go perfectly with a cup of tea!

Good Luck!


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