Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry's rechniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease. The original recipe was from Mary Berry's Baking Bible and is an easy all in one sponge mix.
This is also my first Daring Baker's Challenge, so I'm super excited to share this with you! I've always wanted to make a Battenberg, but as I'm allergic to nuts, I can't eat shop bought ones.
Although you can buy Battenberg cake tins, you really don't need one as it's simple to make a divide using greaseproof paper and foil and then use a standard 20cm x 20cm cake tin. We were told to keep it traditional in shape, and that we had to have at least two colours, but we could do any flavours we wanted! I chose Cherry & Lemon as I'm a little in love with lemon at the moment, I can't get enough of it's zesty flavours.
I chose to cover my Battenberg in normal fondant as I can't eat marzipan either! Typical me, not being able to eat half the stuff required! Damn allergies...
Since I chose Cherry and Lemon, my cake actually turned out to be in the traditional pink and yellow colours. The cakes are held together with jam and since I had a cherry flavoured cake I decided to stick mine together with cherry jam, so you got a double hit of cherry!
One more thing, due to the nut allergy, I had to substitute the ground almonds for ground rice, which you can either buy in the supermarket, or make it quite easily yourself. I made mine as I only needed 65g and probably wouldn't use it, therefore I felt buying a whole bag would be wasteful.
I'll tell you how to make the ground rice first, then show you how I made my Battenberg :)
We needed 65g of ground rice, I weighed this out and then put it in a bowl. I then covered the rice with water and left it to soak for about an hour.
After this I drained the water from the rice and put it on a plate with a paper towel on it. I then placed another piece of kitchen towel on top and patted it dry.
I left it for another 2 hours to dry out before putting it in the mini chopper. Since I had so little, I didn't think it necessary to get the whole food processor out!
I gave it a blitz and kept checking it until I had a nice fine blend, here we go:
Now for the Battenberg :)
You will need:
> 20cm x 20cm cake tin or Battenberg tin
> Greaseproof paper
> Foil, cut to the width of the cake tin and folded to reinforce
> Rolling pin
> Serrated knife or cake leveller
> Pastry brush
> Small saucepan
> Icing sugar to dust
> 175g butter + extra to grease
> 175g caster sugar
> 175g self-raising flour
> 3 large eggs
> 65g ground almonds/rice
> 3/4tsp baking powder
> 1/2tsp vanilla extract
> 1/4 tsp almond extract (I omitted this)
> 75g dried cherries
> Zest of 1 lemon
> Juice of half a lemon
> red food colouring
> yellow food colouring
For assembling the cake:
> 100g cherry jam
> 225g ready to roll fondant
> To begin with we need to cut the greaseproof paper to the correct width of the tin, you need it to be slightly longer than the tin so you have an overlap to pick the cake up once baked. Don't forget you also need an extra bit in the middle to cover the foil!
> Grease the tin with the extra butter.
> Fold your greaseproof paper in half and then place your folded foil into the groove.
> Fold the greaseproof paper at the end of the foil so you have a long piece of greaseproof, then the foil, then another piece of greaseproof.
> Lay it in the tin and make sure it's stuck down well and the foil is in the middle!
> Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
> Place the butter, sugar, flour, eggs, ground rice, baking powder and vanilla extract in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl if you have a handheld electric mixer.
> Mix all the ingredients together on a medium speed until well incorporated, do not overbeat, you want the ingredients incorporated, but not light and fluffy like a Victoria sponge.
> Now split the mixture between 2 small bowls. I always use a spatula and count how many I put in each one to ensure I split the mixture evenly.
> In one bowl add the lemon zest and juice and stir in. Add a few drops of yellow food colouring if you want the colour to be more prominent.
> In the other bowl place the cherries and a few drops of red food colouring and mix until the food colouring is evenly distributed and not streaky.
> Put the yellow mix in one side of the cake tin and the pink mix in the other.
> Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake feels firm and a skewer comes out clean.
> Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, before taking them out and leaving them to cool completely on a wire rack.
> Once the cakes are completely cooled use a serrated knife or cake leveller to level off the tops of the cakes.
> Using a serrated knife trim the edges until level and smooth, don't worry too much about the ends right now as you will need to trim some more off once you've iced the cake.
> Cut the cakes in half evenly.
> Place the jam in a small saucepan and warm through until it just starts bubbling.
> Place the warmed jam in a sieve with a bowl underneath it and push the jam through.
> Add a tiny amount of water to the jam if you had a particularly seedy jam as I did, if not you'll have enough to cover the cake.
> Using a pastry brush, brush the top of one yellow and one pink cake with jam.
> Place one pink cake on top of one yellow cake and one yellow cake on top of one pink cake.
> Brush the inside of one of the cakes and then stick the cake together.
> Move the cake to one side and then dust the worktop with icing sugar.
> Roll your fondant into a rectangle, thin enough to cover the cake, you will find it's quite thin, but this was fine for me as I don't like thick layers of icing.
> Brush jam over the bottom of the cake and place it near the edge of the icing. Then brush each side of the cake, one at a time as you roll the cake and wrap it in fondant.
> Cut any rough edges of icing and smooth over if there are any bumps.
> Trim the ends off the cake to get rid of excess icing.
> Here's the finished product:
> Will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
I really enjoyed this challenge and I think it was a good choice for my first one! I didn't think it was too difficult and it was fun to make, the flavours of the cakes were really yummy. My icing could have been smoother, I've definitely iced better in my life! But for a first attempt, I think I did pretty well and I can't wait for next month's challenge!