This month Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! challenged us to make a Battenberg Cake. She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease. Well that was the idea anyway - mine was not exactly created with ease.
The first thing you might want to know is what is a Battenberg Cake? I know I had no idea. Well Mandy tells us this about the origins of the Battenberg Cake:
The first Battenberg cake was made to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria, to husband Prince Louis of Battenberg. It’s traditionally flavored with almond and has the signature Battenberg markings, that is, the yellow and pink squares (said to represent the four princes of Battenberg).
Well Mandy's cakes looked gorgeous and I had high hopes of doing the same. I had never worked with the marzipan that covers the cake before but I have done fondant cakes which are similar. My first mistake was waiting too long. I waited until two days before it was supposed to be done to try making the marzipan. I tried doing a cooked marzipan recipe that Mandy provided for us. It seemed easy enough but even when I had added all the liquid that it told us we might not need - the marzipan was still a crumbly, oily mess.
Well I posted on The Daring Kitchen website about my issues and Mandy came to the rescue. She said I could just blend in a little more water, and if it got too wet I could add some more confectioners sugar. I added the water and sure enough, I think I added too much. Problem number 2 - I just ran out of confectioners sugar and I only have two hours before I have to get this done. Quick cook the cake - no problems there.
Back to the marzipan. I decided to make my own confectioners sugar. I put a bunch of sugar in my food processor and process away. Well I don't seem to be able to get it quite fine enough but I decide to use it anyway to help thicken the marzipan. The marzipan gets better but I am sure it still wasn't right. Just not firm enough to work with and it decides to stretch and tear when I try to cover the cake.
As for the results. You can see from the picture it is not spectacular looking. The marzipan is sagging and probably too thick. The cake was marvelous - came out perfectly. The marzipan tasted fabulous - just a tiny bit gritty from too course sugar I used.
This was a fun challenge but I sure need to allow myself more time for this kind of challenge. I will definitely be taking another shot at marzipan sometime in the future. If you would like to try making a Battenberg cake you can find the recipe I used along with others at The Daring Kitchen recipe archive.