I say it time and time again, but I’ve always wanted to try making Battenberg, mainly because I love marzipan and I could see there being some off-cuts going spare when you come to trim the cake into shape at the end. Greedy? Maybe, but the end result is pretty special.
Essentially Battenberg cake is differently coloured sponge cake, cut up and glued together with apricot jam and then wrapped in almond goodness. The simplicity, as with most great things, is what makes it even better. There are some learnings along the way, which might make getting the best result a bit more attainable for you, rather than bumbling through it. So here goes…
- 100g apricot jam (could do it with another jam, but this is what brings the various flavours together – other jams would be too overpowering)
- 150g cold butter, cut into cubes
- 150g caster sugar (I always mix white and golden caster sugar together for a deeper flavour)
- 150g plain flour
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 3 medium eggs
- Few drops of both yellow and pink (or red) food colouring
- Icing sugar for dusting
- 250g golden marzipan
Equipment: Two 22cm x 12cm (8 3/4in x 4 3/4in) loaf tins
Start by lining two loaf tins with baking parchment. To get the best results it is best to cut two separate strips – one goes down the full length and up the sides and the other goes across and up the sides. Doing it this way makes sure the paper goes into the corners of the tin and makes for a better and more uniform sponge.
You then want to pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4.
Put the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
Mix on a medium speed, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (and in my case, reminds me of cooking with my Nan all those years ago).
Once you have your breadcrumbs, then add your three eggs one by one.
Once the eggs have been added, whisk on high speed until you get a smooth mixture.
Separate the mix into two bowls, using the “a spoon for this bowl and a spoon for this bowl” method. You could weigh out the mixes to be precise, but where’s the fun in that?! Pause for a staged photo for the blog…
And then mix a little bit of colour into each, trying not to add too much otherwise things look a little bit psychedelic.
Once all the mixing is complete, you then want to slap the mix into the waiting baking trays. The mix will come about a third up the side of the pan. Make sure you push the mixture into the corners to get the best results.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the thickest part of the sponge comes out clean. For me I was done at 20 minutes.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes before peeling off the baking paper and tipping the sponges out onto a piece of baking parchment on top of a cooling rack, which is covered in icing sugar. This helps the cake to become a more consistent size and helps with any cracks.
Leave for another 10 minutes for the sponges to cool down completely.
As the sponges are cooling down, put the jam into a small pan and onto a medium heat.
The aim of heating the jam is to break it down from being textured into being runnier and smooth. The jam will be used to stick the various bit of sponge together and adds to the overall flavour, not to mention look of the cake.
Once you have your jam done, you then want to concentrate on trimming the sponges to ensure they’re as sharp and of an even size as possible. This makes the build of the Battenberg much easier.
Slice each of the pieces of sponge in half length ways. You then want to assemble by coating the sides with jam that are sticking together.
Once you’ve finished it should start to look like the classic Battenberg, but naked.
You’re now ready to roll out the marzipan to cover your sponge. To do this, start with putting icing sugar all over the surface that you’re going to roll it out on. This will stop it sticking to the surface.
Now using a rolling pin and even better a fondant icing rolling pin (hard plastic), roll out the marzipan so it covers all the way round your sponge.
If the marzipan gets sticks when rolling, dust it with icing sugar to help it to become less sticky. Once your marzipan is the required length, you want to coat the underside of the sponge with the jam (to help it stick to the sponge) and place it in the middle of the marzipan.
You can then continue to do the other sides with jam and sticking the marzipan to it. To finish, trim with scissors and eat the remaining marzipan clutching your tummy as required!
Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to help the jam set and the marzipan to become stiffer. Once ready, serve with a coffee or cup of tea for full enjoyment!
I had loads of fun making this, I hope you do to. Let me know how you get on.