Battenburg Cake #RenshawBakeOff

Last week I entered the #RenshawBakeOff Challenge.

Challenge 5: Marzipan Cakes

With the marzipan challenge, you could create any cake or bake you wanted but you had just had to make sure that it included marzipan.

I decide to go with the Classic Battenburg, the traditional yellow and pink chequered cake wrapped in marzipan, I also added some yellow marzipan leaves, just for something a little different.

My mom absolutely loves marzipan; covered in chocolate, fruits anything, so much so I decided to cover the ends of my cake too, so she would have the first and last slice of the cake that had the extra marzipan.

When its Christmas I buy her marzipan fruits, then an extra box to hide for her Birthday in March, as it is always hard to find them in shops the rest of the year. Also round Christmas I make her some sweets with marzipan too, last year I did her some Marzipan Yule Logs with dried cranberries and pistachios, then covered in chocolate… What to make this year!

Battenburg Cake Collage

“Rebecca of @perfectingbakes presented a traditional Battenberg which caught Fiona’s eye. She particularly liked the final presentation and finish, as well as the addition of the marzipan leaves for a decorative flourish.” – Renshaw Blog 

So I may not have won the Renshaw challenge but I was very happy that I was mentioned, a picture of my entry is on the Renshaw Blog and also on their Facebook page, so that made me smile this lunch time.

The masterpiece: Fiona Cairns, stands next to the wedding cake that she and her team made for Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, in the Picture Gallery of Buckingham Palace
Fiona Cairns next to the Royal Wedding Cake that she and her team created – Image from the Daily Mail

The celebrity judge for this challenge was Fiona Cairns.
She studied graphic design at university and has said in an article that it wasn’t until she got married that she really learned how to cook, then she went on a cookery course and that is where she got into making pastry.

She designed William and Kate’s Royal Wedding Cake.
I mean look at it, the work and passion that went into making that, beautiful!

That is why I was so happy that she even thought to mention anything about my cake when her work is absolutely stunning.

 It is something to aim for, being to decorate a cake to that level of skill and precision, what a masterpiece!


The Battenburg Cake Recipe

For the Cake
175g Butter, plus extra for greasing
175g Caster Sugar
3 Large Eggs
175g Self Raising Flour
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
A few drops of Red Food Colouring

For the Covering
6 tbsp Apricot Jam
500g Ready-Made Marzipan
2–3 tbsp Icing Sugar, for rolling

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5, grease a 20cm (8 inch) square cake tin with butter.

2. Measure and cut some baking parchment to 30cm x 20cm (12 x 8 inch) then make a 8cm (3 inch) fold in the centre. This will create the division in the cake tin so that you can bake the pink and yellow coloured sponges in the same tin.

3. Line the tin with the baking parchment, keeping the folded division in the middle.

4. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and the vanilla extract into a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and mix until all the ingredients are well combined.

5. Next you need to divide the mixture equally, putting half into another bowl, in one bowl add a couple of drops of red food colouring and fold it into the mixture until it is well blended.

6. Spoon the cake mixtures into each side of your prepared cake tin then smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

7. Bake in the centre of your oven for about 25 minutes, until the sponges have risen and spring back when they are lightly pressed. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then slide a round-bladed knife around each sponge then turn them out onto a wire rack.

If the sponges have risen unevenly, gently press the surface with a palette knife until level, then leave to completely cool.


To Assemble the Cake
1. First place one sponge on top of each other and trim off the crusty edges so that they are both the same size. Now cut the sponges in half lengthways, making 4 long rectangles.

2. In a small saucepan warm the apricot jam then using the back of a spoon press through a fine sieve into a small bowl.

3. Brush the long side of one of the sponges with the apricot jam then sandwich together with a sponge of the opposite colour. Now do the same with the other two sponges.

4. Sandwich the two pairs of sponges together, so that they look like a checker board then brush the top and sides with more jam.

5. Place the marzipan on your work surface that has been dusted with icing sugar, and roll into a rectangle of about 40cm x 20cm (16 x 10 inch) and be about 5mm (¼inch) thick. This should be large enough to wrap around the cake completely, leaving both the ends exposed – Roll slightly larger if you are covering the whole Battenburg like me. 

6. Turn the cake upside down onto the marzipan then brush the underside of the sponges with apricot jam. Wrap the marzipan around the cake, pressing it gently onto the surface of the sponges, then press the edges together to make a firm join.

7. Turn the cake back over so that the seam of the marzipan is underneath, and present on your serving plate or cake board.

For the leaves that I add on my Battenburg I used Golden Marzipan and used a small leaf cutter, attach to the cake using apricot jam or water. If you don’t have a leaf cutter you can always cut the shapes by hand or used another cutter of your choice.



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