Before I kick off this blog post, I thought I’d give a shout out to a lovely business, Blackbird Bread, of whom I purchased two DELICIOUS loaves from. All handmade, and very friendly people, they deserve a mention, I urge you to visit their blog: http://blackbirdbread.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-us.html and follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/blackbirdbread. If you live in or near the Twickenham area, definitely get in touch to order some bread made to order. Here are mine, a large white loaf, and a hippy loaf:
Now onto the cake!
I have wanted to make the Battenburg for such a long time, but didn’t fancy separating the tin with baking paper. I’m no good with fiddly things, especially when it comes to origami; so instead of taking ages to do so, I bought a special Alan Silverwood Battenburg tin.
It is a really lovely piece of equipment; made even rectangles for each quarter of the cake, was easy to remove and didn’t take longer than the specified time in the oven – living to its promise of conducting heat evenly. Not only that, but you get that real sense of quality when you use it, unlike the bog standard sandwich tin that you’ve had for ages (guilty!)
So anyway, enough about the workman’s tools, what about the cake itself? WELL! I can definitely say this cake went down a storm in my household, was literally gone by the next day, which is quite unusual here. It stuck well with the apricot jam, and looked the real deal – something I was very proud of.
The only thing I must admit to, is that I didn’t make my own marzipan/almond paste; I simply didn’t have the time and I’d already bought it in preparation for this, so Sainbury’s won on this occasion. Another point to make, I THOUGHT I HATED MARZIPAN! Really didn’t think I’d enjoy the battenburg as much as I did, but it goes to prove as you get older, your taste buds definitely change! So there we have it, a winner all round.
- 100 g softened butter
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 50 g ground rice/fine semolina
- 100 g self raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 drops almond extract
- Red food colouring
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
- 225 g marzipan
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas mark 3.
- If you don’t have a battenburg tin, grease a 7″ square cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
- Add the butter, sugar, eggs, semolina/ground rice, flour, baking powder and almond extract to a large bowl and beat for roughly 2 mins until nice and smooth.
- Spoon half of the mixture into the right half of the prepared tin (be as neat as you can), or place the mixture into the dividers of your battenburg tin.
- Add a few drops of red food colouring to the remainder of the mixture, and beat until combined and it has turned a deep pink colour. Then spoon this mixture into the other half of the tin (or into the other sections of the tin). Smooth the surface.
- Bake in the oven (middle shelf) for 40 minutes, until it’s well risen and springy to the touch.
- Leave to cool in the tin until it is ready to be turned out, and then leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Trim the edges of the cake, then cut into 4 equal strips (if you are using the square tin) – leaving you with 2 strips of plain and 2 strips of pink.
- Gently heat the apricot jam in a small pan; use it to stick the 4 strips of cake together, creating that wonderful chequerboard effect. brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam.
- Roll out your marzipan into an oblong, of which isn’t too thick – this will make it far too overpowering. You want it to be able to sufficiently wrap around the cake, and create a tidy join. Brush the remaining sides of the cake with apricot jam, and then proceed to wrap the marzipan around it.