Thursday, 28 October 2010

Battenberg Cake

I received the book 'Bake and Decorate' by Fiona Cairns from a dear friend. It is a gorgeous book. Full of beautiful recipes and pictures with wonderful relatively simple but stunning ideas for decorating her cakes. It makes you want to rush off and create a masterpiece. Well want is one thing and do is another but when I opened the book the page fell open at the Battenberg cake. Oh what a rush of memories. Such a retro little cake. I remembered buying them in Marks and Spencers in the sixties. It was begging to be made. The recipe states it serves eight. Well in this case it served one.

Here is a little useless information for you.
The 4 squares in each slice represent the four German Battenberg princes (Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph) at the time of the marriage on 30 April 1884 of Queen Victoria's granddaughter Princess Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854 to 1921), who would become the grandfather of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. In 1917 Louis changed his surname from Battenberg to Mountbatten.

Battenberg  Cake     
Serves 8
 
Ingredients
175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
175g /6oz self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
175g /6oz white caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 or 2 tbsp milk, if needed
A little pink (or red) food colour
4 tbsp apricot jam
Icing sugar, to dust
250g /9oz yellow marzipan (or natural if you prefer)

Method

Preheat the oven to 170ºC/fan 160ºC/340ºF/gas mark 31/2.

Lightly butter a 20cm square tin and line the base with baking parchment. Also cut out a rectangle of baking parchment, as long and deep as the tin, to act as a divider lengthways between the 2 colours of sponge.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, or in a large bowl with a handheld whisk, first sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the butter, cut into knobs, then the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth, adding a little milk to loosen the mixture if it seems too stiff. Weigh out half the batter and place the divider down the centre of the tin.

Carefully place half the batter into 1 side of the tin. Tint the remaining mixture pink - it's much better to do this not too exuberantly, so take care - and stir until blended. As neatly as possible, spoon the pink mixture into the other side of the tin.

Bake for about 30–35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake springs back to the touch. Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack. When completely cold, slice each colour lengthways into 2 equal blocks, then trim off all the rough edges.

Warm the jam in a small pan, push it through a sieve, then use it to glue the strips of cake together lengthways, so the natural and pink colours form opposite quarters.

On a work surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out the marzipan into a rectangle the length of the cake and wide enough to wrap around all 4 sides. Trim it to size. Brush the remaining jam all over the cake and wrap the marzipan around the cake. Seal the join by gently pressing it together, then turn so this seam is hidden on the bottom. Trim the ends with a sharp knife, then score a criss-cross on the top surface.
© Fiona Cairns

This is Fiona Cairns recipe. The only change I would make is the tin. I think it would be much simpler if the mixture was baked in two separate loaf tins and cut in two. Using the divider is very faffy and requires a lot of trimming. I haven't tried the loaf tin but if you do before me let me know.


31 comments:

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

What a wonderful looking cake. Your blog is filled with delicious recipes. Looking forward to many happy food visits. Please stop by and visit my blog and perhaps follow if you would like.

Rhyleysgranny said...

From Beyond My Kitchen Window- Thank you for dropping in. I shall look forward to your return :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So pretty! I have never eaten that cake, but have seen many pictures of it...

Cheers,

Rosa

Rhyleysgranny said...

Rosa - You need to try it. Delicious

Bridgett said...

What a lovely cake! You always make such wonderful treats. I wish I could pop over for a taste.

Rhyleysgranny said...

Bridgett - Come on then and I'll put the kettle on :)

Gloria said...

Brenda I love this Cake!!! look amazing, xx gloria

Rhyleysgranny said...

Gloria - Bless you ,thanks x

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

oh Granny... this brings back such memories... my brother and I used to fight over this cake whenever mum had some in. I always ended up with the pink squares! I am definitely going to make this and send the pink bits to my brother! Ha!

Choclette said...

Hats off to you for having a go at this one - I sort of want to, but know I'd get too impatient. It's a great book - I have it too.

Marie said...

Looks fabulous. I love Battenburg cake. I made a chocolate version a few months back that was lovely as well.

manu said...

Really beautiful cake! well done! LOL

Rhyleysgranny said...

Dom - LOL at your fight over the cake. Do make it. It's not hard just faffy.

Choclette - It is a lovely book. I am not very patient over cake decorating but some of her ideas are inspirational.

Marie - I like the idea of a chocolate version very much.

Manu - Thank you x

Grannymar said...

Ah! The memories... I loved Battenburg cake. Using two tins is a very clever idea. Thank you!

Lucie said...

This looks so delicious and elegant too Brenda - your cakes always look so feather light! Lucie x

Isa said...

Te quedo precioso y lo rico que tiene que estar¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡
besos

Rhyleysgranny said...

Grannymar - It is a nostalgic little cake isn't it. As soon as i ate it it took me back :)

Lucie - Lovely to see you. Thank you for the complement. I haven't seen you about for ages x

Isa - No yo no hablo español, pero gracias por venir aquí

Chele said...

Mmmmmmmm that sure does look good. I am a bit ashamed to admit that I have never tasted a Battenberg Cake but I think this is a small issue to fix lol

Barbara said...

Dear Granny!
I have just discovered your blog and I adore it!
lovely-lovely-lovely


Cheers
Barbarazxx

Rhyleysgranny said...

Chele - Nice to see you here. yes that is an easy problem to fix LOL

Barbara - Thank you so much for your lovely complement

The Caked Crusader said...

Your quarters are so crisp and beautiful - it's a work of art!

Anonymous said...

Brenda, every time I look at your blog I want to make some of your recipes....
I've never tasted the Battenberg cake but I want to try to make it. Soon!!!!!!!!
xxx Carlotta

BetterLate said...

Granny, did you used to do what we did as children if our mother wasn't watching, and unwind the marzipan and eat each square separately ? Black look and a telling off if we were spotted...

Rhyleysgranny said...

CC - Why thank you. It really is about assembly and using the glue (jam) helps LOL.

Carlotta - You must make it. You are italian so you will love the almond paste. It will be no problem to a baker such as yourself

BL - Yes yes yes. Getting it off the cake stand was the difficult bit. Needed a look out. LOL

megan @ whatmegansmaking said...

I love historial things like this! The cake looks so good! Very beautiful assembly :)

Vicky said...

You clever little cookie, it's so beautiful! This was my idea of food heaven as a kid. I can almost taste it - YUM! xxx

Brownieville Girl said...

Wow, that shows how talented you are Granny - way beyond me!!!!

Rhyleysgranny said...

Megan - So nice to see you. Thank you for dropping in

Vicky - Thank you Vicky. Strange how a cake can bring back so many memories. This is definitely a classic I think

BG - It's not beyond you at all. It's all about assembly. The baking is plain enough. Just glued together with jam and then wrapped in a marzipan blanket :)

Crepes of Wrath said...

Beautifully done!

Karen said...

Wow! This is absolutely amazing. I'm jealous of those of you that can make these desserts that look like they came from the bakery!! Wonderful cake.

C said...

It looks amazing - so neat and professional! I'm definitely in awe!