June Daring Bakers Challenge

This is a very late post, very late. But this challenge looked like so much fun that there was no way I was going to miss it. I was travelling for a week (right when the post was due) and then you can imagine how busy work can get once you get back home. Anyways, I made the cake finally this weekend and it was delicious. I am so glad that I did not miss this challenge. The pictures do not do justice to the cake. So here’s the walnut-coffee flavored Battenberg cake with chocolate plastique.

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.

Now for some history about the Battenberg cake before we get down to the nitty gritty details. This cake has very grand beginnings. It was actually created as a wedding cake for royalty. The first Battenberg cake was made to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria, to husband Prince Louis of Battenberg. It’s traditionally flavoured with almond and has the signature Battenberg markings, that is, 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.

Although there are specialised Battenberg cake tins available, you don’t need one. This can be baked in a square baking tin and a divide made with foil to separate the two batters. This recipe really is all about simplicity.

Preparation time:
Preparation: 15-20mins
Baking & Cooling Time: 45-60mins
Assembly: 15-20mins

Ingredients:

Serves 10

Battenberg Cake
  1. ¾ cup (1½ sticks) 175gm /6 oz Unsalted Butter, softened & cut in cubes
  2. ¾ cup / 175gm /6 oz Caster Sugar
  3. 1¼ cups / 175gm /6 oz Self-Raising Flour
  4. 3 Large Eggs, room temp
  5. ½ cup / 65gm /2 1/3 oz Ground Almonds (Can be substituted with ground rice)
  6. 3/4 tsp / 3½ gm Baking Powder
  7. 3 tsp (15 ml) Milk
  8. ½ tsp (2½ ml) Vanilla Extract
  9. 1½ tsp (7½ ml) 7 gm Instant Coffee Powder or Granules
  10. 3 Tbsp / 25gm/1 oz Walnuts, roughly chopped
To Finish
  1. ½ cup (1 stick) 115gm /4 oz Unsalted Butter
  2. 2 cups / 225gm /8 oz Powdered (Icing/Confectioners’) Sugar
  3. ½ tsp / 2 gm Instant Coffee
  4. 1½ tsp (7½ ml) Milk or Cream
  5. 1 cup / 225gm /8 oz Marzipan, natural or yellow
Milk Chocolate Plastique
  1. 200gm /7 oz Good Quality Milk Chocolate (+-50% Cocoa content)
  2. 3 Tbsp / 45ml /1½ oz Light Corn Syrup / Glucose Syrup / Golden Syrup

Directions:

For the Battenberg Cake
  • Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/160°C Fan Assisted/Gas Mark 4
  • 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) – Tip: See photos or watch video above for detailed instructions or prepare Battenberg tin by brushing the tin with melted butter and flouring.
  • Whisk together dry ingredients (except walnuts and coffee) and combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl (except vanilla and milk) and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth.
  • Spoon half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the vanilla, 1½ teaspoons milk and chopped walnuts.
  • Spoon the walnut mixture into the one side of the prepared baking tin.
  • Dissolve the coffee in the remaining 1½ teaspoon milk and add to the remaining batter, stir until just combined.
  • Spoon the coffee 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 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.
  • Combine the buttercream ingredients together and mix until combined.
  • Spread a thin layer of buttercream onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern.
  • Dust a large flat surface with icing sugar then roll the chocolate plastique in an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap the cake.
  • Spread the top of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream.
  • Place the cake on the chocolate plastique, buttercream side down.
  • Spread buttercream onto the remaining three sides.
  • Press the chocolate plastique around the cake, making sure the join is either neatly in the one corner, or will be underneath the cake once turned over
  • Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with a knife, you can also crimp the top corners with your fingers to decorate.
  • 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.
For Chocolate Plastique
  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, stir occasionally.
  • Once completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
  • Stir in corn syrup / glucose syrup / golden syrup, it will seize up almost immediately, just keep stirring until mixed and it comes away from the side of the bowl.
  • Transfer chocolate into a sealable bag, spread the chocolate out then seal the bag.
  • Leave overnight or refrigerate for about 2 hours until completely firm.
  • Turn out from the bag and knead on a surface dusted with powdered sugar, at first it will just break , but as you knead, it will warm up and start to become pliable.
  • Knead until it’s pliable enough to roll out or mould, 5 – 10mins.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. It is a beautiful looking cake and is delicious. And I can already think about a hundred variations on this. The cake itself, buttercream and the covering can all be varied to result in different kinds of cakes. And this cake is not a very big one. It results in about 8-10 slices so if you are baking this for a party, you can easily make 2-3 of them in different variations and I can promise you that it will be a big hit.

Thanks once again to the daring bakers for the wonderful recipe.

Shilpa

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