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.
This cake – especially its traditional yellow and pink checkered pattern – looks very girlish and (as Mandy has noted) makes one think of Alice in Wonderland. Despite its “cartoonish” appearance the cake was actually created in 1884 as a wedding cake for Princess Victoria and Prince Louis of Battenberg; the yellow and pink squares representing the four princes of Battenberg.
I was impressed by the look of the cake and decided not to change it. I only played a little bit with the flavours – added some orange zest to the batter and “glued” the stripes of sponge with the strawberry ganache. The outer part of the cake is covered with orange jam and wrapped in home-made edible “cover”. A few pieces of decoration – and here’s a cake from the Wonderland. Welcome to tea at Madhatters’!
Recipe adapted from the original one by Mandy
175 gm butter, softened
175 gm castor sugar
175 gm self-raising flour
3 eggs, room temperature
65 gm ground rice
3 gm baking powder
¼ tsp almond extract
½ tbsp Amaretto
1 tbsp orange zest
A few drops of red food colour
100 gm white chocolate
80 gm strawberries
30 gm butter, cubed
100 gm condensed milk
100 gm milk powder
100 icing sugar
4 tbsp orange jam
Pink and white decorations
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a 20cm square tin, make a divide in the middle using a foil and a baking paper.
2. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the dry ingredients, add them to the egg and butter mixture, together with the almond extract and Amaretto.
Divide the batter into two parts. Mix in the orange zest into one part and spoon it into the one side of the prepared tin, add the red food colour into the other part of the batter and spoon it into the other side of the prepared tin. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the cake is well risen and a toothpick comes out clean.
3. Leave the cake 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 and cut each coloured sponge in half lengthwise 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.
4. For strawberry ganache, melt the chocolate in double boiler. Mix in the strawberry puree and the cubes of butter. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. For edible colour, combine condensed milk, milk powder and icing sugar, knead into dough. Refrigerate until ready to use.
6. To assemble the cake, brush the strips of the cake with strawberry ganache to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern.
7. Dust a large surface with icing sugar and roll the edible cover in an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap the cake.
8. Heat orange jam and brush it onto the outer sides of the cake. Put the sponge to the one side of the edible cover and roll the sponge over and over until it is wrapped completely. Carefully flip the cake so that the seam is under the cake. Score the top of the cake with a knife and place the decorations.
9. Neaten the ends of the cake and remove excess edible cover by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern.
1. After trimming the edges of both sponges I had a few pieces of them left which were enough to make the second, smaller one Battenberg!
2. Rice flour can be substituted with almond flour; apricot jam can be used as a glue; the cake can be covered in marzipan or in chocolate fondant.