This Daring Baker (finally) Made A Battenburg Cake!

Seriously, this cake almost didn’t happen. But it did, even if it is over a month late, was hurried and looks like crap. June was such a ridiculously busy month, I didn’t even have the opportunity to make it, especially with the power outage and all. I almost just skipped the challenge all together, which I really hate doing, but when I saw all the beautiful battenburgs on the reveal day, I just couldn’t skip! I wanted to make this cake!

But as it so often does, life gets in the way, and I just couldn’t get in the kitchen to get it done, and I couldn’t decide what flavors to do, either. Until one crazy day, in admist a play date involving 8 toddlers and paintbrushes, Joel working a 24 hour shift, and one exceedingly brief nap (for Ladybug, not me), I made this cake. In one fast, messy, kitchen exploding, go. I wish I would have had a day where I could have leisurely worked on it, but I figured if I was ever going to do it, I needed to just get in the kitchen and go.

I inadvertently put in coffee grounds instead of instant coffee granules, so I don’t have the beautiful checkerboard pattern that I am supposed to (its there, but just barely. Or maybe only because I’ve been staring at the cake and wishing there was a checkerboard pattern…). And the covering…ah, chocolate plastique, my new nemesis… I have never done fondant or plastique before, so this was definitely an experience, but I don’t think it turned out too badly. I also definitely needed more frosting in between each layer. So, it isn’t as pretty as I would have liked it to be, but I am glad that I finally made time for it.

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

Coffee and Walnut Battenberg:

Servings: +- 8
¾ cup (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened & cut in cubes
¾ cup  Caster Sugar
1¼ cups Self-Raising Flour (***see end of doc on how to make your own)
3 Large Eggs, room temp
½ cup  Ground Almonds (Can be substituted with ground rice)
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
3 tsp Milk
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1½ tsp Instant Coffee Powder or Granules
3 Tbsp Walnuts, roughly chopped
Buttercream Frosting
½ cup (1 stick)  Unsalted Butter
2 cups  Powdered (Icing/Confectioners’) Sugar
½ tsp  Instant Coffee
1½ tsp Milk or Cream
1 recipe of Chocolate Plastique (see below) 

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/160°C Fan Assisted/Gas Mark 4
2. Grease an 8”/20cm square baking tin with butter
3. Line the tin with parchment paper, creating a divide in the middle with the parchment (or foil)
– Tip: See photos or watch video above for detailed instructions
4. OR Prepare Battenberg tin by brushing the tin with melted butter and flouring
5. Whisk together dry ingredients (except walnuts and coffee) and combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl (except vanilla and milk) and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth
6. Spoon half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the vanilla, 1½ teaspoons milk and chopped walnuts
7. Spoon the walnut mixture into the one side of the prepared baking tin
8. Dissolve the coffee in the remaining 1½ teaspoon milk and add to the remaining batter, stir until just combined
9. Spoon the coffee batter into the other half of the prepared baking tin
10. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, making sure batter is in each corner
11. Bake for 25-30mins until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and a
toothpick comes out clean (it should shrink away from the sides of the pan)
12. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack
13. Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife
14. Cut each sponge in half lengthways so that you are left with four long strips of sponge
15. Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is as neat and even as possible
16. Combine the buttercream ingredients together and mix until combined
17. Spread a thin layer of buttercream onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern (one yellow next to one pink. On top of that, one pink next to one yellow)
– Tip: See photos for detailed instructions
18. Dust a large flat surface with icing sugar then roll the marzipan in an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap the cake
19. Spread the top of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream
20. Place the cake on the marzipan, buttercream side down
21. Spread buttercream onto the remaining three sides
22. Press the marzipan around the cake, making sure the join is either neatly in the one corner, or will be underneath the cake once turned over
23. Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with a knife, you can also crimp the top corners with your fingers to decorate
24. Neaten the ends of the cake and remove excess marzipan by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern

Chocolate Plastique / Modelling Chocolate:

Servings: +- 8
Dark Chocolate Plastique
200gm /7 oz Good Quality Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa content)
¼ cup /2 oz Light Corn Syrup / Glucose Syrup / Golden Syrup 
Milk Chocolate Plastique
200gm /7 oz Good Quality Milk Chocolate (+-50% Cocoa content)
3 Tbsp /1½ oz Light Corn Syrup / Glucose Syrup / Golden Syrup
White Chocolate Plastique
200gm /7 oz Good Quality White Chocolate
2 Tbsp /1 oz Light Corn Syrup / Glucose Syrup / Golden Syrup
1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, stir occasionally
2. Once completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool a bit
3. Stir in corn syrup / glucose syrup / golden syrup, it will seize up almost immediately, just keep stirring until mixed and it comes away from the side of the bowl
4. Transfer chocolate into a sealable bag, spread the chocolate out then seal the bag
5. Leave overnight or refrigerate for about 2 hours until completely firm
6. Keep it in the back and knead, at first it will just break , but as you knead, it will warm up and start to become pliable – as it becomes more pliable you can dump it out of the bag to finish kneading.
7. Knead until it’s pliable enough to roll out or mould, 5 – 10mins

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  • Reply
    Lindsay {life and kitchen}
    August 1, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Cool! That looks great! Congrats on finishing the cake – it looks great 🙂

  • Reply
    August 1, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    In total awe here! Never in a million years I would attempt anything as "daring" (pun intended.. 😉

    I think you did an outstanding job on this challenge, the chocolate plastique sounds very intimidating, but you pulled it like a pro

    beautiful cake!

  • Reply
    Cher Rockwell
    August 2, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Good for you for finally getting it done! You may have inspired me to get to the crackers that I missed 🙂

  • Reply
    August 2, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    I'm sure I can see a checkerboard pattern, and I haven't been staring at it that long! The top is beautiful 🙂

  • Reply
    My Italian Smörgåsbord
    August 3, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    oh my! this is a work of art! be happy with the outcome. I find your plastique so professionally-looking! and that pattern on top… wow isn't that just perfect?
    you have all my understanding regarding baking under stressful conditions and making time for it when there none.
    have a nice weekend!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    LOL..yay that you finally got to it! I love looks so moist, and your plastique turned out beautiful. I don't usually flip over coffee, but I would eat the whole thing! Beautifully done..major edibility factor!

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