After flicking through the last 3 books that have accompanied GBBO (I don't have the newest book yet) I settled on Mary Berry's coffee and walnut battenburg from the book that accompanied series 2 as I thought it would be fun to attempt a technical challenge and I remember watching that episode and thinking surely it can't be that difficult. I didn't have any coffee to hand as I forgot to bring my jar of instant back from the office so I decided to change the flavours to chocolate and vanilla and sandwiched the cake together with white chocolate buttercream.
I had a bit of leftover marzipan and as we were a GBBO themed cake club that night I shaped the marzipan into the letters GBBO and stuck them on top with a little water. Normally I would have used my homemade marzipan recipe to cover the cake, but as this uses raw eggs I wasn't sure about using it just in case anyone wouldn't have been able to eat it for any reason. Instead I bought natural coloured marzipan from Tesco which was fine, a bit too sweet for me compared to homemade but I still managed to eat quite a bit of it!
Ingredients - adapted from The Great British Bake Off How To Bake
For the cake
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10g cocoa powder
1 tsp milk
For the buttercream
100g icing sugar
35g white chocolate
225g marzipan to cover
- Preheat the oven to 160C and prepare a 20cm square shallow cake tin by greasing and dividing it half. Mary Berry recommends using foil lined baking paper to make life easier but I didn't have any so I folded a length of foil over twice to make it fairly rigid then wrapped it in greaseproof paper and stood it up in the middle of the tin.
|Excuse my well used slightly stained silicone pan|
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour and the ground almonds then divide the mixture evenly between 2 bowls. Add the vanilla to one bowl and the cocoa powder and milk to the second bowl and mix gently to a smooth batter.
- Spoon the vanilla mixture into one side of the divided tin and the chocolate mixture into the other side. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean - the original recipe said 30-35 min but mine were done after 20 min so I'd advise checking then.
- Cool the cakes in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack, leave until cold before assembling the battenburg.
- For the buttercream melt the white chocolate in a bain marie and cool slightly, beat the butter until fluffy then gradually beat in the icing sugar then add in the melted chocolate and beat until smooth.
- To assemble the cake trim the edges so both cakes are the same size and cut each one in half lengthwise. Stack the cakes to create a checkerboard effect by placing a chocolate piece next to a vanilla piece and then alternating for the top row. When you're happy the cakes are aligned neatly, spread the bottom pieces with buttercream on the tops and the sides and stick them together, then spread buttercream on insides of the pieces for top layer and sandwich together. Cover the outside of the stacked cake with the remaining buttercream and spread evenly to give an smooth finish.
- Roll out the marzipan to rectangle big enough to wrap around the cake and cover the cake with it by draping over the top and carefully wrapping it around the base. Trim any excess marzipan and trim the ends of the cake to give a neat finish.
From what I remember of the battenburg technical challenge I think I've done a fairly good job, not perfect as I think the layers could have been slightly more even but it's certainly not a tricky cake to bake. I'm going to have to try different flavour and colour combinations at some point as I think this is actually quite a versatile cake.
I'm entering this battenburg into We Should Cocoa as the theme this month is showstoppers and I think it looks pretty darn good :)