On Saturday, Mat and I went to a St.George’s day party of some very close friends, Jane and Stephen. I wanted to bring cakes, a. because I love making cakes for people whatever the occasion, b. because I don’t drink I wouldn’t have a clue what bottle to bring and c. It was Jane’s birthday on Friday. No more reasons needed, I got baking! I wanted to bring good old British classic teatime cakes, due to St.George’s day I guess and so Battenberg was my first choice.
Despite never having made a Battenberg before, I am well read on its methodology due to a fascination of how it looks, with its pink and yellow chequered design.
Its not difficult, but fiddly at times so do be patient and if your panicking just take a break for a few minutes! It also helps to have a steady hand and good eyesight or at least good enough to see a straight line ahead (all of the qualities I do not possess but, hey, I managed!).
I gave myself 3 hours to make this, a lemon drizzle cake and a fancy Victoria sponge – pushing it!
You could make the 2 colours of any basic sponge recipe and follow the assembly technique, but I wanted a bit of a special cake, not for this occasion – the custard powder gives the sponge its wonderful, natural yellow tone and gives it an incredibly light texture (a good cheat for the all-in-one method) whilst the ground rice cleverly contrasts this to give a good bite. It really worked, I will definitely use this combo again.
Ingredients: Serves 10
100g soft vegan margarine
100g caster sugar
2 egg replacements
50g ground rice/rice flour
75g self-raising flour
25g custard powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1-2 drops red food colouring (not cochineal/carmine/E120)
1 tsp each vanilla and almond extract
300g ready rolled or ready to roll marzipan
5tbsp smooth jam
- Preheat the oven to 160c/fan 140c/gas mark 3 and line the base and grease a 7-8 inch square tin.
- Measure all of the cake ingredients into a large bowl except the food colouring, jam and marzipan and beat for a minute or two until smooth.
- Spoon half of the batter into one side of the tin. Add the colouring to the remaining batter and mix until uniformly pink. Add this to the other side of the tin, keeping the separating line as neat as possible.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- When cool, take the sharpest knife you have, preferably serrated and cut the cake in half to separate the two colours – trim off any overlapping blobs of colour if necessary and trim the edges so that the cake is as perfectly straight edged as possible.
- Take the cake that looks the smallest and place on top of the other. Line up the top cake with the bottom cake using one edge as a guide. Trim the bottom cake to exactly the same size as the top cake.
- Next, cut the two layers, still on top of each other and perfectly lined up, into two strips of cake, so simply cut through the middle in a straight line until you have four pieces of cake.
- Heat up the jam then use it to brush an edge of a cake slice and stick another of the opposite colour to it. Repeat this until you have the chequered design.
- Roll out your marzipan, if not ready rolled, to the width of your cake and long enough to be wrapped round the cake.
- Brush the top of the assembled cake slices with jam and stick, jam side down onto the marzipan. Brush the rest of the cake edges with jam and roll the marzipan round and seal in one corner. Trip off any imperfections or overhang and score a criss cross pattern onto the top of the marzipan if desired for a pretty finish.