If you’re a fan of the Great British Bakeoff, then you might have seen a Masterclass from the 2011 series when Mary Berry made a coffee and walnut battenberg cake.
You can see Mary’s excellent recipe here. I have been really keen to have a go, and it’s taken me until now to do just that, spurred on by an excellent purchase on my recent U.K. food trip.
I was very taken with London’s Borough Market – more of that anon – and when John Whaite GBBO winner 2012 told me about the Borough Kitchen shop, I had a great time investigating their goodies!
So, I found a Silverwood Multisize Cake Pan with Dividers. This is the perfect tin to make Battenberg cake in, to create the lovely chequerboard effect. If you don’t have a fancy tin like this one, you can create the dividers using baking paper folded to divide the tin in two.
My battenberg was coffee and ginger, and I changed the quantities slightly to make more mixture. I also noticed that Mary’s oven temperature and cooking times were different on the TV masterclass from the BBC Food recipe. The masterclass turned out to be right (lower oven shorter cooking) so my recipe reflects that. I’ve tweaked a few other things too, as you do, to suit my cooking style.
Here is my battenberg – a little “rustic” – but I’m happy with my first attempt!
Coffee and Ginger Battenberg Cake
For the cake
150g caster sugar
3 free range eggs
150g self-raising flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
75g ground almonds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp milk
2 tsp instant coffee powder
50g stem ginger, chopped
For the coffee butter icing
100g icing sugar
50g butter, softened
½ tsp instant coffee powder
1½ tsp milk
To decorate the cake
225g/8oz white marzipan
Pecan praline pieces
For the cake, preheat the oven to 160C or 140C fan forced oven.
If you have a multi divider tin, assemble the dividers to make an 8″ or 20cm square tin, and then using another divider, create another division dawn the middle. Grease the square with the divider well.
If you are using a regular cake tin, Mary gives these instructions.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm/8in square, shallow cake tin.
Cut out a piece of baking paper that is 7.5cm/3in longer than the length of the tin. Fold the paper in half widthways. Open out the paper and push up the centre fold to make a 4cm/1½in pleat. Line the base of the tin with this, making any adjustments to ensure the pleat runs down the centre of the tin making in effect two rectangular ‘tins’ within the tin.
Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and ground almonds in a stand mixer until smooth and slightly lighter in colour.
Spoon slightly more than half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons of the milk. Set aside.
Mix the coffee in the remaining 2 teaspoons of milk, stirring until it has dissolved and then stir this into the other bowl of mixture with the chopped stem ginger. Spoon the vanilla mixture into one half of the tin and the coffee and ginger mixture into the other half. Level the surface of each half with a knife.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the cake is well risen, springy to the touch and has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin.
Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then loosen the cake from the sides with a round bladed knife, turn it out, removing the baking paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.
For the butter icing, sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Add the butter. Mix the coffee and milk together until the coffee has dissolved, and pour into the bowl. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth and you have an “icing” consistency.
Trim the crispy outer edges off the cooled cake with a serrated knife, then cut and trim if necessary into 4 equal strips. Lay one vanilla and one coffee and ginger strip next to each other, then use a little of the butter icing to stick them together. Spread a little more icing on the top. Stick the remaining two strips together with icing and place them on top to create a chequerboard effect.
Spread more icing over the top of the assembled cake.
Take the marzipan and roll on a work surface lightly dusted with sifted icing sugar, into an oblong, the length of the cake and sufficiently wide to wrap around the cake. Be careful you don’t roll any cake crumbs onto the marzipan. You may have to roll the marzipan a couple of times to get the right size.
Quickly flip the rolled marzipan over, so the top side you have been rolling will end up as the top side on the cake.
Lay the butter iced side of the cake (ie the top) on the marzipan, positioning it so that when you lift up one long side, it perfectly covers one side of the cake (this way the join will be neatly in the corner).
Spread the rest of the icing over the remaining three sides of the cake (not the ends). Brush off any crumbs from the marzipan and work surface.
Roll the cake over in the marzipan, pressing to neatly cover it, then brush the corner join lightly with water, pressing it to seal.
Turn the cake over so that the join is underneath. Trim a slim slice from each end of the cake to neaten and show off the chequerboard effect. Smooth the marzipan over with your hands to give it a smooth finish. It’s simply a case of trying to make the marzipan look neat!
I decorated my battenberg with some pecan praline pieces that I had made – but crystallised ginger or plain pecans, walnuts or almonds would do just as well!