Thursday, June 28, 2012

Battenburg Cake - Daring Bakers Challenge June 2012


This Month's DB challenge was the Battenburg cake!! Since the time it was announced, almost-teen has been obsessed with it and claims that this is the best thing that has happened to her this summer. For those of you who are not aware of it, she is quite - very - obsessed with Britain - and that's an understatement. As for where it comes from, well.... she happens to be an ardent Harry Potter fan! She's reread Harry Potter some obnoxious amount of times until I threatened that if I saw her with Harry, he will be thrown out. Now Harry has been taken over by the history of UK ....and no one is complaining anymore. And with this new Britain-related obsession, she's spent countless hours perfecting her British accent, which has come a long way.... So now you get the picture.... the timing could not have been more perfect. A tea party - along with the royal cake was some English tea and a good book about the Queen. 

*The cake has royal beginnings - the chefs of the British Royal Family were introduced to the German style of cake making during Queen Victoria's reign. This included the use of bright colors and marzipan. The first Battenberg cake was made in that German style to celebrate the wedding of Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, and was named after her husband, Prince Louis of Battenberg

It’s traditionally flavoured with almond and has the signature Battenberg markings, the yellow and pink squares (said to represent the four princes of Battenberg). The strips of sponge are glued together using jam (normally apricot) and the whole cake is covered in marzipan. Sometimes the edges are crimped and the top is patterned with a knife.

Thanks to 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.

There were just too many choices - you could pair any two flavors and marry them into this exotic royal treat. After a lot of thinking and no pressure (*cough cough*) from a certain someone, I was told - sorry, I made the original pink and yellow with marzipan. I substituted lemon curd for apricot jam and lemon flavor for almond flavor. It was fit for royalty, to say the least!!




Ingredients
¾ cup (1½ sticks)  Unsalted Butter, softened & cut in cubes
¾ cup fine Sugar
1¼ cups  Self-Raising Flour 
3 Large Eggs, room temp
½ cup  Ground Almonds (Can be substituted with ground rice)
3/4 tsp  Baking Powder
½ tsp Vanilla Extract in the pink batter
1/4 tsp zest of lemon
Red Food Colouring, paste, liquid or gel
To Finish
1/2 cup lemon curd
1 cup /  8 oz Marzipan, natural or yellow




Preheat oven to 350F or 180C

Grease an 8”/20cm square baking tin with butter

Line the tin with parchment paper, creating a divide in the middle with the parchment (or foil)

OR Prepare Battenberg tin by brushing the tin with melted butter and flouring
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. Divide the batter into two equal parts.
Add the lemon zest to one half and spoon it into one side of the baking dish.
Add a few drops of red food coloring to the remaining batter, stir until the colour is thoroughly distributed. Add the vanilla extract
Spoon the pink batter into the other half of the prepared baking tin
Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, making sure batter is in each corner (otherwise you will have an uneven cake which will be hard to construct)
Bake for 25-30mins until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack
Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife
Cut each coloured sponge in half lengthways so that you are left with four long strips of sponge.
Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is as neat and even as possible. 
Warm the lemon curd and use it as a glue to make a checkered pattern. 



Dust a large clean surface with icing sugar and roll the marzipan in an oblong shape wide enough to cover the cake. It was not easy to work with marzipan under the humid condition.
Brush one side and top of the checkered cake structure with the lemon curd. Now move the cake to the side it has been glued and do the same for the other 2 sides. 
Trim off the ends of the cake (the small, square ends) with the excess marzipan to reveal the pattern.
With a serrated knife make the pattern on the cake.
Decorate as desired, I used edible pearls and made some roses from marzipan.  




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