Ahhhhh yes the Battenberg Cake! This is our first challenge for the NEW Season, and it’s a pretty standard start to the season, cakes!
The original cake recipe dates bake to Victorian times and it’s now a Classic British recipe.
The Battenberg Cake
For this cake, two colors of cakes are stacked in a checkerboard pattern, with apricot jam between them, and homemade marzipan wrapped around the whole thing. The Battenberg cake is as beautiful as it is tasty.
As I was watching the first episode of this new season I saw everyone turn up their nose at marzipan and the Battenberg Cake idea. Maybe it was just the marzipan, but it felt like overall the bake was not exciting to them.
I’d never made marzipan before but after watching the show I was determined to try homemade marzipan. I’ll give you the measuremnts and directions in the recipe but if you’re looking to cut corners on time, buy marzipan you can roll out and use that instead.
One positive about making your own marzipan is that you control the flavor. I dislike almond flavoring so I opted to leave it out, I used a splash of my homemade vanilla instead.
Overall I didn’t mind the flavor of the homemade marzipan too much. When used over a small cake with just a little apricot jam under it, it was actually palatable.
Is this a classic rolled marzipan? No, the classic rolled marzipan contains egg white. I think this is a valid substitute. It worked, it wasn’t too dry, it rolled fairly well and it wasn’t too disgusting. All pluses in my book!
It was hard to find a recipe for marzipan you can roll out. Ok, it wasn’t THAT hard, it’s just that I didn’t want to make my own almond paste OR go buy some, and I didn’t want to use an egg white. So I found a little recipe to use, altered it a wee bit, and it worked out pretty well.
Would I make this GBBO Cake again??
The Battenberg Cake is truly beautiful. Would I make it again? I’m not 100% sure on that one. My family actually LOVED it and ate it all. It was a load of work but it was so pretty I might be tempted to do it again.
How to Add More Flavor to This Cake Recipe
You can easily add vanilla to the cake batter, in fact I recommened it. And you could add citrus zest, lemon or orange would work. You could also use extracts but those sometimes don’t taste that great.
I’d go simple with this cake recipe. A little flavor, a little zest, and call it good. From what I saw in the show those that went heavy on the extract had a cake where that flavor stood out. Not in a good way either.
This recipe is adapted from the Great British Baking Show Big Book of Amazing Cakes Book. And of course I used vanilla instead of almond extract. It called for self rising flour so I made my own, and made my own marzipan. I was disappointed to see that the book didn’t even give a recipe for marzipan.
How to make Self Rising Flour
For EACH cup of flour add 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt. For THIS recipe that was 1 1/2 cups flour 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and scant 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Or just use self-rising flour!
Cake Pan Needed to Make a Battenberg Cake
You can use the classic GBBO Pan from the show with all the removable sides PLUS EXTRA DIVIDER WALLS and pieces OR you can use an 8×8 pan with an aluminum foil divider down the middle. Either one works. If you don’t want another pan in your cupboard go for the 8×8 pan, if you NEED that multiple-piece pan, go for it!
This classic British Cake Recipe, The Battenberg Cake, comes together pretty easily if you have all the parts on hand and you're ready to work.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups self rising flour, or 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder and a scant 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pink good dye gel
- 1 /2 cup sieved apricot jam
Homemade Rolled Marzipan Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon soft unsalted butter
- powdered sugar to roll the marzipan
- preheat the oven to 350˚
- line an 8x8 cake pan with foil back parchment OR just foil, make a divider right down the middle of the pan to make 4x8 inch sides, butter or grease the pan completely
- If you're using the multi-size cake pan be aware that you must still line this pan with foil to make a divider to make the correct size cakes unless you have an extra divider wall
- beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until soft and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stop halfway through and scrape down the bowl
- add the eggs, one by one until the are fully incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl between eggs
- measure the flour by loosening it up, then spoon into the measuring cup
- add the flour and vanilla to the butter mix, and beat until it's smooth
- pour half the batter in one half of the prepared pan, smooth out the top
- tint the half of the batter light pink and then pour it in the other half of the prepared pan
- bake in the hot oven until a toothpick comes out clean, 25-30 minutes
- while the cake is baking make the marzipan
- mix the almond flour and powdered sugar together in the bowl of the stand mixer with the paddle attachment
- add the corn syrup and the vanilla, stir to combine
- when the mixture is crumbly pinch it together to see if it holds together, if it doesn't add another 1/2 teaspoon of corn syrup
- butter your hand and knead the marzipan on a clean counter to combine
- at this point, you could add a drop of food color gel and make it colored marzipan or leave it cream-colored
- either way, once you finish it you can roll it in a log, wrap it up in plastic,s and tuck it in the fridge until ready to use
- once the cake is done remove it from the oven, let it cool ten minutes then turn it out of the pan and leave to cool on a cooling rack
- when ready to assemble remove the marzipan from the fridge and roll it out on a counter dusted with powdered sugar, cut to a rectangle 12x8, if it's too cold to roll or crumbles, let it warm up while you assemble the cake
- trim and cut the cakes to make them 1 1/2 inches wide by 8 inches long, trim them as needed
- lay two of the opposite color on the bottom, stick them together with apricot jam, layer the other two on top putting jam between the top and bottom layers, and the two sides
- then spread the last of the jam over the long edges of the cake
- set the cake on the rolled out marzipan, and fold the marzipan up and over the cake matching the cut edges, trim as needed to fit, then turn the whole cake over so the seam is on the bottom
- cut a slice off both ends of the cake so it's neat and clean
- you can dust it with powdered sugar or score the top in a diagonal pattern
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