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.
Most of the time, I would say that taste is one hundred times more important than presentation. But when I first saw what the challenge would be for June earlier this month, my perspective changed. This cake is beautiful. It can be any combination of colors, any number of checkers, and wrapped in fondant, white or dark chocolate, or marzipan. I’m sad that I only got to try it out once, seeing as the results could have been better. I had so many other ideas for flavors, but oh well, another time.
Part of what I love about this cake, which is a British creation, traditionally done in pink and white checkers and flavored with almond, is that it holds up so well. I found it easy to cut into neat slices without falling apart or losing its perfect shape. But my favorite part of all was that is reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, and a cake that might be served at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. That I accidentally added a bit too much food coloring to the pink cake just strengthened the association.
I made it gluten-free and over-baked it a wee bit, which helped for serving but not with the flavor. Generally, gluten-free desserts should be under-baked, but I used a smaller pan and had to lengthen the cooking time which then got away from me. The recipe link is below, here are the changes I made: I used granulated sugar rather than caster sugar; I replaced the self-raising flour with the standard 2 white rice flour: 1 tapioca starch: 1 cornstarch ratio plus the appropriate amount of additional baking powder and anthem gum (about 1/2 teaspoon); I covered it with chocolate plastique using 10 ounces of chocolate instead of 7 though keeping with the same ration of chocolate to corn syrup; I stuck the cakes together with raspberry jam, not apricot.
Finally, if you plan to cover the cake with chocolate plastique, my advice is to knead and knead and knead and knead, eventually is will come together and you will be able to roll it out. It may seem crumbly and like a lost cause at first, but persevere!
Battenberg Cake, I used the traditional recipe, though the coffee-walnut version sounds wonderful too!