At work last week we were discussing food we had as kids and battenburg (or battenberg as it is correctly spelt I believe) cake came up in the conversation. It just so happened that one of the girls was going to Marks and Sparks and lo and behold she came back with said Battenburg. Our eyes lit up and we hurried off to make a cuppa to have our slice. Oh what a disappointment it was! Sickly sweet and dry this surely wasn’t the cake of our childhood we cried! I checked the ingredients out and sugar was listed first – no wonder it tasted so cloying.
None of us had baked a battenburg before so I rose to the challenge and volunteered to make one. We all agreed that marzipan would probably be better than almond paste and there are plenty of recipes with both. I bought my marzipan as the cake was a little fiddly to make without the palava of making the marzipan too!
Here is the recipe and a picture too! Enjoy….
100g soft margarine (you can use butter)
100g caster sugar
2 large/extra large eggs
50g ground rice ( I bought this from Broadway International Food Centre as Sainsbury’s didn’t stock it. They were very helpful)
100g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a few drops of almond essence
red food colouring
3-4 tablespoons apricot jam (I used strawberry)
Preheat the oven to 160c/325f/Gas 3.
I have checked quite a lot of recipes on the internet to find out the best way of cooking the cake – either one large square tin (20cm) or two separate loaf tins. I opted for the latter as I have two small loaf tins identical in size and I thought it would be a neater finish. If you don’t have the luxury of two tins, divide the tin in half with a strip of foil folded into a double thickness.
Make sure you butter and line the tin or tins with baking parchment.
Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, ground rice, flour, baking powder and almond essence for two minutes until smooth.
If using two tins place half the mixture in the tin and add a few drops of red food colouring to the rest of the ingredients then place in the second tin. The cake will take around 40 minutes, test with a skewer to check if done.
Don’t turn the cakes out until they have had some time to cool otherwise they will be too crumbly. Trim each of the two cakes into two cuboids, each with the same square cross-section, so that you can put them all together. Warm your jam (I used Sainsbury’s basics strawberry jam as it has no pips and therefore ideal for this recipe) in a saucepan until it is runny and spread able, and assemble the cake in the traditional chequerboard pattern.
Roll the marzipan into an oblong big enough to wrap the cake in. Put some more jam on the now glued-together cake, and roll it all up in the marzipan, smoothing the join.
When rolling the marzipan place on baking parchment so it doesn’t stick to the work surface, this also means you don’t have to use any icing sugar on the rolling pin.