Battenberg Cake: June’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge

Raspberry Battenberg CakeThis month, 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. I found the video to be very helpful.

I did spend I good amount of time reading the recipe carefully and watching the video above before I began this challenge. But overall, I would say this cake looks much more intimidating than it really is. So let me give you a quick summary of what you will be doing, if you chose to make this cake. Perhaps it will make you feel a little less intimidating.

  1. make a simple cake batter and dye half of it with red food coloring. (Simple!!!!)
  2. bake the batter in a divided cake pan. pink on one half and regular on the other (pretty Simple!!! It just takes some time to make the divider)
  3. Let it cool completely so you don’t make a mess when you cut it. (super simple!!!! unless you’re a really impatient person. or in a rush. Don’t be in a rush)
  4. cut each color into 2 equal sized strips for a total of 4 equally sized strips(if you want it to look good, it is key that all 4 strips are equal in size and have even sides. That may mean cutting the domed part on the top of the cake. And cutting a good amount off all sides…depending on how even your cake baked).
  5. “glue” the strips together using jam…so it looks something like the photo above. (also Simple!!!!)
  6. Roll of the marzipan and neatly wrap the cake in it. (Not as simple 😦 This require a bit or TLC. Marzipan is sticky. Either dust with powdered sugar or roll between two sheets of wax paper…or both. Just to be safe)

Ok…..that’s the overview….now here we go

Traditional Battenberg:

Servings: +- 8

Equipment required:

  • Medium Large Mixing Bowl
  • Small Heatproof Bowl (for jam)
  • Spatula
  • Wooden Spoon OR Electric Handmixer OR Stand Mixer
  • Large Sieve
  • Small Sieve (for jam)
  • Pastry Brush (for jam)
  • 8″x8″ (20cmx20cm) Square Baking Tin OR 8″x6″ (20cmx15cm) Battenberg Tin
  • Bread Knife OR Pastry Knife
  • Rolling Pin
  • Sharp Knife
  • Whisk

¾ cup (1½ sticks) 175gm / 6 oz Unsalted Butter, softened & cut in cubes
¾ cup / 175gm / 6 oz Caster Sugar
1¼ cups / 175gm / 6 oz Self-Raising Flour
3 Large Eggs, room temp
½ cup / 65gm/ 2 1/3 oz Ground Almonds (Can be substituted with ground rice)
3/4 tsp / 3½ gm Baking Powder
½ tsp / 2½ ml Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp (1¼ ml) Almond Extract
Red Food Colouring, paste, liquid or gel

To Finish
1/3 cup (80 ml) 100gm /3 ½ oz Apricot Jam (or jam of choice. I used raspberry)
1 cup / 225gm / 8-10 oz Marzipan, natural or yellow

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/160°C Fan Assisted/Gas Mark 4
2. Grease an 8”/20cm square baking tin with butter
3. Line the tin with parchment paper, creating a divide in the middle with the parchment (or foil)
– Tip:  watch video for detailed instructions
4. Whisk together the dry ingredients then combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth
5. Spoon half the mixture into the one side of the prepared baking tin
6. Add a few drops of red food liquid/gel/paste to the remaining batter, stir until the colour is thoroughly distributed, add more colour if needed
7. Spoon the pink batter into the other half of the prepared baking tin
8. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, making sure batter is in each corner
9. 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)
10. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack

Notice, my divider didn’t stay perfectly straight. So my two pieces were slightly different sizes. I had to remedy this once I cut the 4 strips. At first I was really concerned. But then, I found I could just trim the sponge cake as needed.

11. Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife
12. Cut each coloured sponge in half lengthways so that you are left with four long strips of sponge

13. Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is as neat and even as possible
14. Gently heat the apricot jam and pass through a small sieve

15. 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)

16. 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.
17. Brush the top of the cake with  jam
18. Place the cake on the marzipan, jam side down
– Tip: Either in the middle or to the one side of the marzipan
19. Brush the remaining three sides with jam (I skipped this step and found it easy to adjust the cake and make it neat since the marzipan was not stuck to the sides. However, I had to be sure to wrap it taut.)
20. Press the marzipan around the cake, making sure the seam 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, you can “roll” the sponge over and over onto the marzipan instead of lifting the marzipan up onto the sponge
21. Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with the back side of a knife blade (not the sharp side)
22. 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.

Battenberg cake

23. Garnish with a topping that matches your filling/jam flavor

Now…..If you’re still reading. Here are my thoughts.

  • This is an extremely FUN cake to make! However, give yourself time. I made mine over 2 days. I baked the sponge one evening and assembled the cake the following morning.
  • Not the most moist cake….so, don’t expect it to be. But, it’s pretty tasty. For some reason, I preferred it cold. It seemed as if the components held together better straight out of  the refrigerator and it seamed easier to eat.
  • Be sure to watch the video. It will be very helpful in learning to construct the cake, regardless of the difference in flavor.

4 comments on “Battenberg Cake: June’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge

  1. WOW. That is simply gorgeous. Particularly with the raspberries and mint leaves on the side.

  2. Yummmm!
    Your Battenberg cake version looks so pretty and tasty!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Really hope I can do something like that! =)

  4. Simply Gorgeous – Would love to see this submitted to FoodFotoGallery dot com so I can share with all my foodie friends 🙂

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