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June 2012 - Battenberg Cake

10. 6. 2012

This is my first Daring Bakers' Challenge. And I am happy to say that this cake looks fabulous even though it is quite simple to make.

I used the recipe provided by this month's host, Mandy, for the traditional Battenberg Cake (from Mary Berry’s "Baking Bible") - with some alterations because it seems that I can't stick to a recipe:

175 g fine flour

175 g sugar

65 g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

175 g margarine, cubed and softened

4 medium eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract (Bittermandel)

red food colouring (powder)

First, I had to create a makeshift Battenberg tin. I took a sheet of aluminium foil, folded it so it fit in my 20x20cm square tin. Then I took a sheet of parchment paper, folded it in half and stapled the aluminium foil in the fold. I put the "dam" in my square tin creating two smaller separate compartments for batter.




Next, I prepared all my ingredients.




I mixed the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and ground almonds.




After that, I put eggs, margarine and both extracts in the bowl with the dry mix.




I mixed everything until the batter was smooth.




Then, I took one half of the batter and put it in one of the makeshift compartments. I took about 1/4 tsp of powdered red food coloring and dissolved it in about 1/2 tsp water. I mixed the red coloring in the remaining batter ant put the pink batter in the second compartment.




Next, I put the batter in the oven that was preheated to 180 °C. My oven is wacky - I had to constantly check the oven thermometer and adjust the temperature dial accordingly. After about 20 minutes, I checked the batters to see if they were done and I found out that while the yellow (not coloured) one was already starting to brown on the top, the pink one was still liquid. So I returned the tin back to the oven with the pink part in the back, where the oven is supposed to be hotter. After about 5 minutes, I checked again and the pink half was done.

I let the cake cool a bit in the tin and then transferred it to an upside-down muffin tin to cool completely, because I don't have a cooling rack.




When it was completely cooled, I trimmed the edges, cut the domed top to flat and cut each part in half lengthwise.



Next, I took some apricot jam, heated it in the microwave and passed it through a sieve. (The recipe said 100 grams, but I am sure that I used more.) I spread the warm jam all over the strips of the cake and assembled the Battenberg cake. Finally, I rolled out store-bought marzipan on a surface sprinkled with icing sugar. (I used 150 g -> less than the recipe called for, but next time I will use about twice the amount, because I had to roll it very thin.) I took the assembled Battenberg cake and wrapped it in the marzipan. As a finishing touch, I scored the top.





All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with this cake. The sponge is light, but not too spongy thanks to the ground almonds. The combination of flavours - almond in the sponge and marzipan and apricot - is very traditional. And the cake looks stunning!






Later, I also made two Battenberg cakes with different flavours.

The first one was yellow and red with lemon and raspberry flavours, apricot jam and marzipan. I used lemon extract for lemon flavour and raspberry syrup for the red cake. The raspberry syrup was definitely not enough, the cake did not taste of raspberries at all. I think you would have to use some kind of raspberry extract or alcohol, such as raspberry vodka, to get a prominent flavour.

The second cake was cocoa and coffee flavour with nutella spread and modelling white chocolate. I used cocoa powder mixed with a teaspoon of milk for cocoa flavour and ground coffee mixed with a teaspoon of water for the coffee flavour. I also made modelling chocolate according to the provided recipe:

200 g white chocolate

2 tbsp golden syrup

I melted the cocolate and mixed with the golden syrup until it seized. I transferred it into a bag, spread out and put in the fridge. After about a week, I took it out of the fridge, let come to room temperature and then kneaded (still in the bag) until it started to feel like playdough. It took some time and it crumbled at first, but in time, it all came together. After that, I rolled it out into a sheet and used like marzipan.

I did not particularly care for the taste of modelling chocolate and the combination of cocoa/coffee cake and nutella was too sweet for this hot weather, but I must say that the coffee cake by itself was my favourite of all of the cakes I baked for Battenbergs :-)





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