After my recent Six Things To Do With… Marzipan post, I decided I really wanted to try and make a Battenberg cake. It has been used as a technical challenge on The Great British Bake Off so I thought it would be a good challenge for me as a baker. I haven’t done anything overly challenging or technical in a while, plus I had plenty of marzipan lying around. I am not sure whether the correct spelling is ‘Battenberg’ or ‘Battenburg’ as I have seen both, but the recipe I chose to follow is by the Hairy Bikers so I went with their spelling!

First, you need a square baking pan. I picked one up in Tesco. The recipe says to use a 20cm tin, mine was 21cm and this didn’t cause any problems. I measured out a piece of baking paper that was 30cm x 20cm. I folded it in half, and folded it back leaving a 4cm tall fold. It’s hard to describe so hopefully the above photo makes it clear. The fold should stick up in the middle so the two parts of the sponge don’t mix when cooking.

To make the sponge I mixed together 175g butter, 175g Whitworths Fine Demerara Sugar (I didn’t have any golden caster sugar and had some of this in the cupboard), 3 eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 175g self raising flour.

Using scales I split the mixture into seperate bowls until the weights matched exactly. I added Sugarflair Christmas Red food colouring to one bowl until it went pink, you only need a little bit.

I poured the batter into the seperate sections of the tin.

I actually ended up making this twice. The first time I baked on 180C for about 30-35 minutes. It hadn’t cooked properly and it was too late to put it back in the oven as it sunk quite badly. So in the bin it went and I started again. This time I cooked on 160C for the first 30 minutes, then turned it up to 180C for the final 25 minutes. It cooked much better the second time. I would say keep an eye on it and test it with a skewer or cake tester to make sure the part where the cakes meet in the middle is cooked as that’s the area where I had problems.

Once the cakes had fully cooled I trimmed the edges and then cut the cakes in half. It’s best to hold the cakes together whilst trimming so they stay an equal size.

I rolled out some marzipan, and warmed and sieved 6 tbsp apricot jam. I also made an almond buttercream using 100g icing sugar, 50g butter and 3/4 tsp almond extract. The recipe says to use the jam for both sticking the marzipan to the sponge, and to stick the sponge together. But I decided to do a buttercream to stick the sponge together instead because of the yummyness.

So the construction begins! I brushed the jam on the bottom of the sponge and buttercream down the side and stuck onto the marzipan. Then covered in buttercream

The other two pieces of sponge went on with buttercream in the middle. I brushed the jam on the top and on the marzipan at the sides. Wrapping it around was the hardest part. There were some cracks in the marzipan and it was hard to get it wrapped tightly.

I also decided to add some marzipan leaves to the top. I cut these out of the leftover marzipan using a knife and stuck them on using the leftover jam. This was partly because the top looked a bit boring and partly to hide some imperfections in the marzipan!

It looked better when I cut the end off. This also gave me an opportunity to taste it, delicious! The buttercream was definitely a good idea.

I don’t think my Battenberg is technically perfect, but I am thrilled with how it turned out! Especially how neat my squares look. It tasted really good too, I was glad I used the almond buttercream. It does feel really good to conquer a baking challenge like this. I can understand to an exent what The Great British Bake Off contestants went through now! I took this into work and once it was sliced, it didn’t last long! Have you made anything technical from The Great British Bake Off?

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