Battenburg: Go on get fancy...
Written by Northern Lad
Battenburg: one of the most popular and striking cakes, yet surprisingly easy to make - Northern Lad shows you how.
The cake is a deviation on a standard sponge cake, so if you can make them then this shouldn't be much harder, although you have to put a bit more effort in.
The checks come from having two kinds of mix in the cake. I'm not sure how the commercial manufacturers get the nice pink colour, but I prefer it dark so I use a chocolate and almond one.
You will need the usual cake making equipment (scales, bowls, whisk, etc), but also an additional bowl and, for this size, an 11"x7.5" tray.
Start off by making a 4442* chocolate cake, substituting an ounce of the flour for cocoa powder. Leave it in the bowl once mixed.
Now make the almond cake. Again, a basic 4442, but this time swap half the flour for ground almonds.
*For full instructions on sponge cake making click here for Bagpuss' cake article
Once both mixes are ready they need to be transfered to the tray. Prepare the tin by lining it with either baking paper or parchment, but fold it in the middle so it splits the tray in two halves. This is to keep the two batters from merging.
Place in the oven at 175C for about half an hour - use your judgement, all ovens are different.
Allow to cool out of the tray.
Now the hard bit. Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare the almond paste (marzipan). You need to roll it out so that it is long enough to run the length of the cake (11") and wide enough to wrap around the cake once built (~16"). You don't need to be too precise about this as you'll be trimming off the ends anyway. Once rolled, paint one side with cake glue (warm apricot preserve).
Now take the cakes and cut in half along the length, which should give you four cakes with roughly square profiles. Paint the edges that made up the outside of the cakes on two of the pieces (one of each type) and stick together. Repeat with the other two pieces. Now paint the two tops and stick the two halves together to give a check pattern.
Carefully place the cake on the marzipan and roll up, keeping the edges firm. You may have a little too much but just trim it so that it matches at the corners. You'll then have a fairly rough looking thing.
Don't worry, the last step sets things off nicely: Cut the ends off with a bread-knife.
Take the off-cuts away and eat them and show the cake off to family, friends and random folk off the internet.
If you'd like to share your cake making experiences with us or suggest your own recipes please click here for the recipes section of the forum.