Well, it seems like it’s a while since I last published anything on here…… it’s been a busy month! Commuting by bike most days to work combined with trying to up the running miles has really taken it’s toll on me; once I get home, I cook dinner for us both and then most nights crawl into bed at about 9pm. Rock and Roll! Anyway, I’ve had this little recipe tucked away for quite a long time, so I figured now was a good a time as any to share it with you. I’ve never made a Battenberg cake before (eaten plenty!), but as my older sister has asked me to make her wedding cake for her (eeeeeeek!) and her other half LOVES Battenberg, I thought somehow I would try and incorporate some Battenbergy goodness into the cake. I’m thinking a circular chequerboard Battenberg cake for the top layer…. we’ll see! For now, here’s a basic (“normal”) Battenberg recipe, with photos from my first attempt. The recipe I used is adapted from the Hairy Biker’s recipe on the BBC Food website. I like Battenbergs to have that slightly more almondy taste and a bit of the ground almond texture, so this recipe has additional ground almonds in the cake in addition to a bit of almond essence.
- 175g unsalted butter
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 140g self raising flour (175g without the almonds)
- 50g ground almonds
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 3 medium eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- Red food colouring
- Apricot jam
- 500g marzipan
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F)
- Grease a 20cm/8” square tin with butter. Take a 30cm x 20cm strip of baking parchment and make an 8cm / 3” fold in the centre, to create a division between the two different coloured sponges. Line the tine with the baking parchment, keeping the division in the centre. I put a layer of tin foil inside the fold to make it a bit more rigid. Don’t underestimate how long this will take you if you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me!
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, then add in the flour and ground almonds (sift for no lumps).
- Divide the batter into two separate bowls (use a set of scales to check weights of batter), and add a few drops of red food colouring to one bowl.
- 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 preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the sponges are risen. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then slide a knife around the edge of each sponge and turn them out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
- To assemble the cake, place one sponge on top of the other and trim off the crusty or uneven edges until they are the same size.
- Cut both sponges in half lengthways to make four long rectangles (each rectangle should be the same height as they are wide – I had enough cut offs for 4 mini loaves too!)
- Warm the apricot jam, and use it to sandwich the bits of cake together in the Battenberg pattern.
- Roll the marzipan out on an icing sugared, cold surface to a thickness of around 5mm.
- Turn the cake upside down on the marzipan, and also brush the bottom of the cake with the apricot jam. Wrap the marzipan around the cake, pressing it gently onto the sponges (an extra pair of hands is useful here), and press the edges together to make a firm join
- Turn the cake back over, with the seam underneath, and trim a slice off each end to neaten up.
- Put the kettle on, make a cup of tea and have a big fat slice of Battenberg!
As long as you get through the faff of preparing the tin, and get the mixtures weighed out evenly between the two colours, this was actually a lot simpler than I thought! Our oven is a gas oven and tends to burn the bottom of things (hence the dark bottom on some of the quarters you can see in the photos), but seems like a fairly bomb proof recipe given that the first attempt was deemed very successful by all taste testers!