Wednesday, 23 February 2011

We've all gone Battenburg Barmy!

Wikipedia says "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. These coloured sections are made by dyeing half of the cake mixture pink, and half yellow, then cutting each resultant sponge into two long, uniform cuboids, and joining them together with apricot jam, to form one cake. Established variations are for coconut flavouring to the sponge cake and lemon curd or raspberry jam in place of apricot jam.

The origin of the name is not clear, but one theory claims that the cake was created in honour of the marriage in 1884 of Queen Victoria's granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg, with the four squares representing the four Battenberg princes: Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph.

This is one of Claire's favourite cakes, she used to love a slice as a special treat when she was little ( I didn't often buy shop bought cakes even back then) I've never made one but have often thought about it. However, while looking through my friends Facebook status I noticed that Suzi a fellow pampered cheffer and team mate had made a fab attempt at making this chequered cake, hers was a great colour and a lovely dainty little size, looking just like a battenburg should, her comments were, to quote " my first attempt at making battenburg, quite pleased with it and even if i do say so myself, tastes delicious."  Well, I thought I'd give it a go myself, Claire would love me for ever..... the bat cave.... oh no, wrong alter ego.... I went into Tulip's Kitchen to weld my baker's roller and shake my batter bowl. The results were good... the colour was more a red than a pink, the size was great if you were the BFG and the marzipan went on forevvvvvvvverrrrrrr!!! I made it in my Square Bake Pan making one batch of cake mixture and split it into, colouring one half  'pink' and the other yellow, however two colours in one pan does not make for even colouring (as you can see by the photo) Next time I'll make two cakes so the colours stay separate and make two battenburgs, this really was mahoosive!
Comments flew "what's with the Battenburg fetish?" "off to make my own" and so it continued... and then I opened last months Good Food Mag which had been sat on the bedside table gathering dust (just haven't found the time to read it yet!) and lo and behold there on page  124 was " Bake a Classic Battenburg Cake", tips, how to make it different and what's in its name... oh if only I read it earlier.  I will be following this recipe next time and when April's copy hits the mat, I'll be waiting with a cup of coffee in hand and will read it cover to cover, I promise.... if I've got time!!!  


Angela said...

This is something I have always wanted to make too, so after seeing your post and picture, I am going to give it a bash tomorrow. Think I might go down the double batch route as it is for a school coffee morning.........wish me luck :-)

Susan said...

Yum, that looks good! I don't think I'm that advanced in baking to make one though, but if you need someone to sample, I'm your girl!

Tulip said...

Susan, you don't need to be an advance baker to make this, its a simple sponge mix that you colour half of, cut, spread jam and roll out a bit of shop bought marzipan!!! Go on give it a try.. and pop back and let me know how you get on, its great!!! As for sampling... you'd have to be very quick, my lot demolish everything in nano seconds!!! lol