This was my first time making Battenburg cake, and it certainly will not be my last. I'm smitten! I love the bright almond flavor the cake imparts, and I can't help but smile at the colorful two-by-two checked pattern. Traditionally the cuboid cakes are pink and yellow, but I've always thought pink and green conveyed the feeling of spring more perfectly.
I had a difficult time finding good step-by-step instructions for this recipe, so I am including my own in this post.
|Grease the pan with shortening before adding the divider, this will hold the paper in place as you pour the batter in.|
I ended up using a 10 x7 stoneware dish with the parchment divider and it worked great. I went a little overboard obsessively trimming the cake cubes to perfection (which I never fully achieved). Next time I will not be so fretful over this because much of the unevenness is corrected by the marzipan layer.
As a final touch, I dressed the cake in white fondant and added pearl dragees. This cake reminds me so much of the little white gloves I wore as a child for Easter. They had pearl buttons, and I was so proud of them.
Spring Battenburg Cake [click to print]
1 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1-2 tsp milk (if batter is too thick)
1 drop deep pink Americolor soft gel food coloring
1 drop green Americolor soft gel food coloring
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 1/2 cups or approx. 3/4 lb. marzipan (press into measuring cups)
1 1/2 cups or approx. 3/4 lb ready-made white fondant
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Corn syrup to hold dragees in place
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 x 7 baking dish, set aside.
Line the pan:
Fold a piece of parchment paper in half, then, while folded, trim the edges to fit the length of the pan. Place the parchment inside the greased pan with the crease sticking up and running lengthwise. (You are dividing the pan in two portions with the crease of the parchment.) Smooth each side of the parchment down into the pan, adhering it to the bottom.
Bake the cakes:
Cream butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat in the 3 eggs one at a time, then mix in almond extract. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gently add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture, and stir on low speed until combined. Add milk if mixture is too dense - batter will be thick but should spoon out easily. Divide batter into two equal parts (this recipe makes about 3 1/4 cups batter). Tint one portion of batter pink, and the other portion green. Spoon (or pour) pink mixture into one side of the parchment lined pan, and green into the other side. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Turn cakes out onto a wire rack and let cool completely
Assemble the cake:
Using a serrated knife, trim each cake evenly into two long cuboid cakes. You should have two green cake pieces and two pink. Melt apricot jam and brush cakes on all sides with it. Stack cakes together two-by-two, creating a square of alternating colors. On a piece of parchment, roll marzipan thinly with a large rolling pin, making sure there is enough to completely cover the stacked cakes. Roll stacked cake tightly in marzipan, pressing to secure the edges.
Dust work surface with confectioners' sugar and roll ready made fondant into a large thin sheet - again, making sure there is enough to completely enrobe the cake. Roll marzipan coated cake in fondant making sure the seam is placed at the bottom of the cake - trim as needed. Slice a small portion of cake off each side, removing the excess fondant and marzipan along with it.
With the back of a knife press criss-cross patterns in the top of the cake (like quilting). Make a small indention with a lollipop stick where each line meets. Put a small dab of corn syrup in each hole (use a small paintbrush or toothpick to apply) and place a single pearl dragee in each hole.
Store in an airtight container or wrap in cling film.