Saturday, December 11, 2010

Battenberg Cake

It all started when Anne's friend Jay came home to Auckland, NZ from the UK. She bought me a small packet which housed a Battenburg Cake. It was divine.

When Anne came home in June, she bought me one as well. I didn't even want to share it, but I managed to - just.

Then Anne posted me out another one this month, which was snaffled up very quickly. If I didn't do something about it, then Battenburg Cake from the UK was going to be the UK's biggest export to New Zealand.

So I went searching on the internet, and found a recipe. And I made one.

It's a bit fiddly, but well worth the time. This is what it looked like, I managed to take a couple of photos before it was all eaten!!

The Recipe:

Battenberg Cake

* 150 grams of butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
* 3/4 cups of white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups of plain white flour
* 3 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 cup of milk, approximately
* red food colouring
* 1/4 cup of apricot jam
* 250 grams of almond paste / fondant to cover

1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degC.
2. Line sponge roll or shallow square cake tin with baking paper.
3. Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
5. Sift the flour, baking powder and fold into the creamed mixture.
6. Add sufficent milk to give a soft dropping consistency.
7. Spoon half the mixture into one half of the prepared tin as neatly as possible. 8. Add a few drops of red food colouring to the remaining mixture to turn it a pink colour, then spoon this into the other half of the tin, try to get the join between the two mixtures as neat as possible.
9. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is well risen, springy to the touch and has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin.
10. Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.
11. Trim the edges of the cake and then cut into 4 equal strips down the length of the colours.
12. Gently heat the apricot jam in a small pan and stick the stripes of cake together, one plain piece next to one coloured one, and then vice versa to make a checker board effect.
13. Brush the top of the assembled cake with apricot jam.
14. Roll out the almond paste into a rectangle the length of the cake and sufficiently wide to wrap around the cake.
15. Invert the cake on to the almond paste, then brush the remaining 3 sides with apricot jam.
16. Press the almond paste neatly around the cake, arranging the join in one corner.
17. Serve in slices

This has made me realise I haven't had lunch!

History: (From Wikipaedia)...

Battenberg cake is a light sponge cake. When cut in cross section, displays a distinctive two-by-two check pattern alternately coloured pink and yellow. The cake is covered in marzipan and, when sliced, the characteristic checks are exposed to view. These coloured sections are made by dyeing half of the cake mixture pink, and half yellow, then cutting each resultant sponge into two long, uniform cuboids, and joining them together with apricot jam, to form one cake. Established variations are for coconut flavouring to the sponge cake and lemon curd or raspberry jam in place of apricot jam.

The origin of the name is not clear, but one theory claims that the cake was created in honour of the marriage in 1884 of Queen Victoria's granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg, with the four squares representing the four Battenberg princes: Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph.

The name is also used to describe a smaller cake in a similar, but more decadent vein. A small cuboid of sponge (normally about 1 inch square by 3 inches long), usually white, is encased in buttercream and wrapped in marzipan. Visually at this stage, the cake looks like a miniature version of the checkered pattern cake above, but without the two-by-two grid. Each end is then dipped in chocolate up to approximately a third of the length, leaving the central third clear of chocolate. This is allowed to set, before being eaten.

Traditionally in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Battenberg cake is eaten with a cup of tea.

So there you have it - easily made and a lovely taste! I might make some more tomorrow!


icemother said...

oh you are just too clever.. and Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

Battenburg cake is even better with wine .... :-)

Anonymous said...

I'll try it with wine next time :)

DAve Beaty (davincipoppalag) said...

sounds wonderful.. Hope you are well and I just popped by to wish you a wonderful Christmas Robyn (((Robyn))

KLS said...

Did you realize that Princess Alice of Battenburg was deaf? Nice connection, huh?