Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Battenberg Cake for the Jubilee!


This month's Daring Baker challenge was a lot of fun. We made the kind of cake you imagined eating as a little girl at a tea party with your stuffed animals and tea set. It is a very British cake, fitting for one made during the Queen's Jubilee celebrations. Here in Canada, there was plenty of coverage of the Jubilee but we didn't talk about it in school. However in the small town where my mother and brother live, I found a small Jubilee flag in the school playground. It seems that all the kids were given them. I wonder if they all watched on TV and waved their little flags? I have no idea, so let's talk cake.

The traditional Battenberg has 2 colours and 4 squares, but I decided to make a 9-square cake. I sort of followed the challenge recipe, but was out of almonds, a major ingredient, the day I decided to make this. So, I used freshly grated coconut (I often have a coconut on hand) in the vanilla and chocolate layers and pistachio in the green layer. I didn't use food colouring, but got a nice green because I am very particular about blanching and peeling pistachios so the reddish skins don't discolour anything. It takes forever, but it's a good task when you are listening to the radio or watching TV. I had a small package of marzipan from Ikea, so used that to cover the cake, but I had to roll it quite thin and it was hot and humid so that was a bit tricky. Don't buy marzipan from Ikea--it's cheap but has absolutely no flavour. I kneaded in some almond extract, but that made it even stickier. The cake kept well, but the marzipan all stuck to the plate the next day.
I baked the cake in a small sheet pan and it was just dumb luck that I got nice squares by dividing each colour into thirds. I really enjoyed all the measuring and trimming and assembling of this cake. I am usually quite slapdash in the kitchen so a bit of precision does me good every once in a while. Which reminds me that I ran out of homemade apricot jam halfway through assembly and had to finish up with homemade orange marmalade. Thanks to Mandy of What the Fruitcake?! for a fantastic challenge, apparently put together quite last minute! Don't you love that blog name? Check out all the wonderful Battenberg cakes at The Daring Kitchen and read the challenge PDF for the recipes and the history of the cake and its name.

Blog-checking lines:
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.

Oops--looking at The Daring Kitchen homepage, I realized I had forgotten to post my from-scratch cannelloni 2 weeks ago. I did make it! A triple recipe, in fact, which was just the thing for a stiflingly hot day (I sweat remembering it). Here's a photo:
Left: meat filling Right: spinach and ricotta. Both with tomato sauce and pesto bechamel. Mmm.

31 comments:

chef_d said...

Wow, that's a very pretty Battenberg cake, loving the color combination, the green from the peeled pistachios looks gorgeous!
And the cannelloni looks delicious too, great job!

Valerie said...

Battenberg cakes have always reminded me of something that would be served at the Mad Hatter's tea party. :-)
Yours looks gorgeous!! Love the colours you went with.

teafactory said...

WOw, that's amazing - so perfect and yummy looking!

Cher Rockwell said...

Beautiful cake & great flavor combination

Within the Kitchen said...

Great job on your Battenberg! Beautiful.
ceecee

Jeanne said...

Great color choices for your cake! And all that precision paid off - the squares look perfect!

Tugs Girl said...

The combination of chocolate and pistachio is amazing in and of itself, but with coconut too? Over. The. Top. And so gorgeous!

prerrnamirchi said...

wow, your battenberg looks so neat and symmetrical. well done!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Just amazing the result is beautiful. I can't believe there is no green food coloring.

glutenfreehappytummy.com said...

how gorgeous! i love the colors!

lifeisfull said...

What a lovely, lovely cake! They used to sell them by the slice in bakeries when I was a kid. The squares were sandwiched using buttercream. Mmm!
How do you grate coconuts?

Korena said...

Such a pretty cake! I'm amazed that you got that green colour entirely with pistachios and no food colouring :) The addition of coconut sounds delicious. Nice job!

Cakelaw said...

You Battenberg cake looks fab - and the three colour, nine square version is so much fun. I also think the canneloni looks devine - it is cold here, so something hearty and warming like that would hit the spot.

shelley c. said...

Wow - that is such an impressive Battenberg! Makes me want to try again, with more squares next time! I love the color and flavor choices, too - especially that you didn't use any food coloring. Great work!! And delicious looking cannelloni, too :)

Sarah said...

Mary! I envy your ability to just wing it and end up with results this beautiful. Thank you for sharing your lovely cake with us.

simple baking said...

Love the colourful battenberg and the flavour combination is great! I once got marzipan from waitrose and it was ok. Not great.I prefer modeling chocolate.

Marcellina said...

I love your tricky Battenberg with three colours - looks amazing! The flavour of the coconut and pistachio sounds delicious!

Marcellina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marcellina said...

I love your tricky Battenberg with three colours - looks amazing! The flavour of the coconut and pistachio sounds delicious!

saylorkel said...

Flavors sound amazing. That pistachio green is perfect. You must have some serious patience.

A Canadian Foodie said...

Mary!
Absolutely stunning!
How did you "stick" the pieces all together? Did you use apricot jam? It would taste delicious with marzipan, but be so much fun if the green was pistachio, the white almond and the chocolate - well - chocolate!
You are an inspiration, for sure! I DID make that budakoek recipe - I know you gave me one - and had sent one back to you to check if it was that one quite a long while ago, and I am sure it was from you, as I recall trashing all the ones I harvested from the internet before that - and it was DEADLY.
Thank you!
Glad you got creative here - 9 squares is so much more fun than 4!
:)
Valerie

Not Quite Nigella said...

Wow your flavours sound wonderful and I bet the lucky eaters really appreciated the extra effort you went to :D

The Cookie Fairy said...

Your Battenberg cake version is so cute!
I just love the flavors and colors combination

thisisrocksalt.com said...

Oh I love your nine square version! What a lot of work, and a brilliant outcome. The colours are stunning.

Turmeric n Spice said...

love your battenburg cake...love the textures and the creative pattern

lisamichele said...

Mary - you are the bomb! I could never make those beautiful cuts for 9 cube battenberg! I thought about it for a second, then said.."I don't think so" lol It looks amazing, as does your cannelloni!

crumbsoflove said...

GORGEOUS Mary! I love that you blanch and shell your nuts- I do the same thing! The original versions of this cake always had 9 panels and it wasn't until the 1930's that 4 panels won over. LOVE yours!!!!! Best, Sandie

malachiteandmeringue said...

Your cake is so incredibly precise for being free-hand! Maybe one day I too will be brave enough to try nine squares, though I have a feeling my cake would keep getting progressively smaller as I tried to get it even. Great job!
-M'elle

Suz said...

Mary, your battenberg is so pleasing to look at (and eat, by the sounds of it). Those are such perfect little squares & the green pistachio sponge is fantastic. I always get too impatient with pistachio peeling. Love love love that cannelloni too.

Nikita Verma said...

like your recipes collection...very nice blog..:)

Disturbingly Delicious said...

The cake looks beautiful! Very nice