Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Daring Bakers' Challenge - Going Batty with Battenberg Cake!

The host for this month's Daring Bakers' Challenge was Mandy of What the Fruitcake? and in the spirit of jubilee celebrations (which, BTW, has taken our bloggotopia by storm) she had sent us on a very batty mission...making a very classic, very British, cake.... Battenberg Cake.

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. It was originally invented by the chefs of the British Royal household to celebrate the marriage of Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine and Prince Louis of Battenberg.

Blog-checking lines:
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.

Mandy provided us with some amazing flavour combinations like coffee-walnut, lemon-orange, vanilla-chocolate, to name a few. Since I was making this cake for the first time,I decided to make this very English, very traditional battenberg, but instead of covering it with marzipan, I used chocolate plastique or modelling chocolate.
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. According to Mandy, this recipe really is all about simplicity.

Making the pan divider with parchment paper and foil.
Fold over a sheet of foil several times to help reinforce the divide.
Fold the parchment in half and put the foil into the crease.
Butter the bottom of the cake pan, this will help "glue" the parchment to it.
Make sure the divide is in the middle of the pan and stick the excess parchment onto the bottom.

Traditional Battenberg
Adapted from here
¾ cup (1½ sticks) 175gm / 6 oz Unsalted Butter, softened & cut in cubes
¾ cup / 175gm / 6 oz Caster Sugar
1¼ cups / 175gm / 6 oz Self-Raising Flour (1 cup Self Raising Flour = 1 cup / 115g All Purpose Flour + 1 ½ tsp Baking Powder + ¼ tsp Salt (omit salt if there is salt in the recipe) sifted together)
 3 Large Eggs, room temp
½ cup / 65gm/ 2 1/3 oz Ground Almonds (Can be substituted with ground rice)
3/4 tsp / 3½ gm Baking Powder
½ tsp / 2½ ml Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp (1¼ ml) Almond Extract
Red Food Colouring, paste, liquid or gel
To Finish
1/3 cup (80 ml) 100gm /3 ½ oz Apricot Jam
1 cup / 225gm / 8 oz Chocolate plastique/modeling chocolate

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 photo above for detailed instructions OR Prepare Battenberg tin by brushing the tin with melted butter and flouring.
Whisk together the dry ingredients then combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth. Spoon half the mixture into the one side of the prepared baking tin. Add a few drops of red food liquid/gel/paste to the remaining batter, stir until the colour is thoroughly distributed, add more colour if needed. Spoon the pink 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 coloured 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. Gently heat the apricot jam and pass through a small sieve. Brush warmed jam onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern (one yellow next to one pink. On top of that, one pink next to one yellow).
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.
Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Place the cake on the chocolate plastique, jam side down. Brush the remaining three sides with jam.

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.
- Tip: If you put the sponge to the one side of the plastique, I found it easiest to "roll" the sponge over and over onto the plastique instead of lifting the plastique up onto the sponge. 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 chocolate plastique by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern.

Chocolate Plastique / Modeling Chocolate
Dark Chocolate Plastique
200gm /7 oz Good Quality Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa content)
¼ cup / 60ml /2 oz Light Corn Syrup / Glucose Syrup / Golden Syrup
Milk Chocolate Plastique
200gm /7 oz Good Quality Milk Chocolate (+-50% Cocoa content)
3 Tbsp / 45ml /1½ oz Light Corn Syrup / Glucose Syrup / Golden Syrup
White Chocolate Plastique
200gm /7 oz Good Quality White Chocolate
2 Tbsp / 30ml /1 oz Light Corn Syrup / Glucose Syrup / Golden Syrup
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.

Storage Instructions/Tips:
- Battenberg will keep for 3-4 days stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
- Keep chocolate plastique in an airtight container at room temperature, it will keep for as long as the
expiry date on the chocolate wrapper.


  1. Looks great! I love the "in process" picture of the cake strips and apricot jam :)

  2. That seems like alot of work! Well done, Anuja!

  3. Looks lovely, Anuja! You did a perfect Battenberg Cake! I can imagine how happy your family must be when served with this pretty and delicious looking cake! Love it! :)

  4. Hi Anuja, wow...prefect cake and very pretty. Love the color combination, it look so nice and the texture of your cake look good. Thanks for sharing the tips on pan divider.

    So nice if can have 2 slices now with a cup of coffee. ;)

    Have a nice day. with lots of love and hugs to you. muahhzz..... :)

  5. This is so pretty! You make it look so easy with your photos!

  6. Your cake is gorgeous! I love how tall it is and the striking colours. Great work this month. :)

  7. Wowsers, what a striking battenberg...this looks perfect! :-)

  8. i always think making a battenberg cake is very tough but now reading your post, it seems easier and the checkers looks so tidy and pretty. Well done, anuja!

  9. I love the vivid pink of your Battenberg and the simple row of silver "bullets" made an elegant finish. Beautiful work!

  10. Wow I love the gorgeous colour you have achieved! Such a beautiful contrast with the chocolate! Yes, I added milk because for me it was too dry. I made a cake earlier but didn't get around to decorating it - we ate it as is! But we found it too dry. THe milk made it nice and moist.

  11. Love your pretty Battenberg Cake! Great choice of colors & nicely done! This is another cake that I've been wanted to do for quite a while! After looking at yours , I feel like making one myself. heheheheh Saw your comment on THB just now! I hope you're feeling better now.
    Have a good rest & take care, Anuja! How I wish I can send you some flowers from my garden! HUGS :)

  12. Battenberg cake looks good, but no easy to make one.

  13. Your Battenberg cake version is so cute!
    Just love the flavors and colors combination

  14. Beautiful cake, so colorful. Looks so delicious! :)

  15. I love seeing all the Daring Bakers' cakes this month! Yours is absolutely spectacular! This is one I wished I would have tried...but I've been out of the house nearly half the month :/

  16. wonderful cake. Worth putting lot of efforts :). First time here. Loved your space. Happy to follow you. Visit my site when u find time.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)

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