Wednesday, June 27, 2012

THE DARING BAKERS' JUNE 2012 CHALLENGE: Going Batty for the Jubilee

I was thrilled when I found out that we were going to make a Battenberg cake for this month. It looks really pretty, it was one of those cakes that made me think "How did they do that?" when I was not into baking yet. Also it was a very nice gesture because it is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee...not that I am in the UK, far from it...but my parents were in London when it was her Golden Jubilee 10 years ago and it was really bittersweet watching the Diamond Jubilee on TV because my mother passed away last year and it just reminded me so much of her.

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.

So what exactly is a Battenberg Cake? Apparently the first Battenberg cake was made to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Victoria to husband, Prince Louis of Battenberg.

Wow, so how's that for a cake's history? I will never look at another Battenberg cake without thinking of its royal and romantic backstory. We were given freedom by Mandy with flavors and with the covering (marzipan, chocolate plastique etc.) but I decided to follow the traditional recipe which she provided.

BATTENBERG CAKE

3/4 cups unsalted Butter, softened and cut into cubes

3/4 cups Caster Sugar

1 1/4 cups Self Raising Flour*

3 large Eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup ground Almonds (can be substituted with ground rice)

3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon Almond extract

Red food coloring (paste, liquid or gel)

To finish:

1/3 cup Apricot jam

1 cup (225) grams Marzipan, natural or yellow

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.

2. Grease an 8 inch/20 cm square baking pan with butter

3. Line the pan with parchment paper creating a divide in the middle with parchment paper or foil

4. 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.

5. Spoon half of the mixture to one side of the prepared pan

6. Add a few drops of the food coloring to the remaining batter, stir until the color is thoroughly distributed, add more color if needed.

7. Spoon the pink batter into the other half of the prepared pan

8. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula making sure batter is in each corner of the pan

9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (it should shrink away from the sides of the pan)

10. Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

11. Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a serrated knife.

12. Cut each colored sponge in half lengthwise so that you are left with four long strips of sponge.
13. Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is neat and even as possible

14. Gently heat the apricot jam and pass through a sieve.

15. Brush warmed jam onto strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern (one yellow next to one pink. On top of the one pink next to one yellow)

16. Dust a large flat surface with powdered sugar and roll out the marzipan (or in my case, the chocolate plastique), roll into an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and completely wrap the cake.

17. Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam.

18. Place the cake on the marzipan/chocolate plastique jam side down.

19. Brush the remaining three sides with jam.

20. Press marzipan/chocolate plastique around the cake making sure the join is either neatly in one corner or will be underneath the cake once turned over.

*To make 1 cup of self raising flour=1 cup All purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder +1/4 teaspoon Salt

CHOCOLATE PLASTIQUE
200 grams good quality Dark Chocolate(70% cocoa content)

1/4 cup/60 ml Light Corn Syrup/Glucose Syrup/Golden Syrup

Directions

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, stir occasionally.

2. Once completely melted, remove from the heat and cool a bit

3. 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 sides of the bowl

4. Transfer chocolate into a sealable bag, spread the chocolate out then seal the bag

5. Leave overnight or refrigerate for about 2 hours until completely firm

6. 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 become pliable

7. Knead until it's pliable enough to roll out or mould about 5-10 minutes.

And there you have it...so nice and pretty to look at but actually was quite easy to do. Thank you Mandy for this challenge, it's one of my favorites now! Do check out the other Daring Bakers' awesome Battenberg cakes, you won't be disappointed!



21 comments:

Not Quite Nigella said...

I thought the same thing when I heard that it was a Battenberg challenge because I've never made one either but have been fascinated by them. Yours looks beautiful! :D

Kristin said...

Thank you for digging out the history of the Battenberg cake. I am glad I didn't know it before though - not sure if I otherwise would have had the guts to try my hands on such a royal cake. Great job!

Mary said...

Battenberg was a cake I had been curious about and wanted to make too, so I was glad for the challenge. I love the pink/white/chocolate colour combination of yours.

shelley c. said...

Your Battenberg Cake looks delicious!! I love the traditional pink and white with the chocolate around it - it looks almost too pretty to eat, but definitely too delicious not too! Wonderful job!

Sarah said...

It looks like you more than conquered the additional challenges presented by the humidity. Great job, D!

Marcellina said...

I love the chocolate covering on the cake. I used marzipan which is traditional but I'm not sure I liked it. I must try out the chocolate plastique - it looks amazing!

Lorraine Joy Alegria-Vizcarra said...

Your battenberg cake looks wonderful.

marilyne said...

looks delicious!

Louise said...

Love the pink colour!

Katie said...

Your cake looks delicious and I'm impressed you made the chocolate plastique, I've never attempted that

Nazneen Hamilton said...

Great job with the Battenberg! Love the traditional colours. It was a fun challenge especially since I've been wanting to make one for years.

Kitchen Belleicious said...

beautiful, awesome, amazing!

lisamichele said...

I love that you paired the traditional pink and yellow cake with the chocolate plastique wrapping! It looks beautiful - such a great contrast, Dahlia!

Heather said...

It's really cool making something that has such history - thanks for the little reminder about this cake beginnings - yours is great :)

Turmeric n Spice said...

I agree even I thought it was sth only professionals can bake. Am glad it turned out otherwise !! Yours looks awesome !!

Am sorry about your mom , it is so hard to lose a parent.

Cakelaw said...

What a gorgeous cake! Love the chocolate icing. And such a lovely tribute to your mum.

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I didn't know what Batternberg cake is until this challenge. Yours look beautiful!! It requires a lot of effort and time to make this, and you did such an amazing job!

malachiteandmeringue said...

The cake looks absolutely delicious! Something about the pink and yellow wrapped in the darker chocolate is very appealing. Fabulous job!
-M'elle

Suz said...

I love the traditional colours - they're so pretty! I think yours would be my perfect battenberg, with the choc wrapper instead of marzipan. Gorgeous!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

I never knew about Batternberg Cake until I saw some blogger did this challenge and shared on their blog. The cake looks soooooo gorgeous and I love how you made it. It was fun reading about the cake too. You did a wonderful job! :-)

Oggi said...

It's so beautiful and the chocolate wrap is perfection!