Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' June 2012 ~ Going Batty For the Jubilee


It is the month of June, and off we go to England and celebrate the Queen's Jubilee.

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.

Last minute or not, it was quite a formidable and exciting challenge, as you will come to see.

In Mandy's words ..."our challenge, fantastic DBers, is to make a Battenberg cake. It must be in the traditional shape (square oblong) and must have at least two different coloured checks as well as be covered in a firm edible covering like marzipan."

Battenburg cake was introduced to the chefs of the British Royal family during Queen Victoria's reign. It was first made to celebrate the wedding of the Queen's grandaughter and took the name Battenburg after her husband to be, Prince Louis of Battenburg. This intitially German style cake  made use of bright colours and marzipan, (almond paste). So, tagging along in its creative tradition is some impressive, unvarnished royal descent.

I'd heard of the London afternoon tea delight, but never had the pleasure of knowing a bite of it's  sophisticated form. Mandy's depthful discourse on the origin, making, and ingredient components of a true Battenburg cake left  us quite knowledgable as to the what, the where and the how of this illustrious treat.

We were given the option to choose colors that were to flood our pattern and also choices of  some splendid flavor pairs. Marzipan making was encouraged (a good thing, since I've never attempted it and so desperately wanted to give it a try), though fondant or chocolate plastique (modelling clay) could also be used to cover the cakes. Rich buttercreams, curds, ganaches were just a few suggested examples for tasty cake binding adhesives .

I actually felt a tad grander and a wee bit taller from my all of 5 ft 3'' frame whilst putting together this dessert of grandiose quality. It was a sweet task indeed.
During all this, though, a confusing conundrum happened upon me, when, throughout the typing of my Battenburg post, my brainspeak turned into a queer sort of Britspeak. I guess, strange things happen when you make a dessert of this magnitude, volleying straight from the ovens of the Royal Kitchen.

Going forward, then, I set out to make my two Battenburg cakes.
I made the Coffee Walnut Battenburg first, using Mary Berry's recipe provided from the challenge page. This is because coffee and cake are a totally insane combination and completely awesome together. Not only did this cake contain all the finest ingredients on earth, coffee in the sponge as well as the buttercream, almonds in the cake, almond- pasted marzipan, and copious amounts  of butter - it was utterly gorgeous, to boot.

It took a while to bring everything together, I have to admit. Almost comparable to putting together a small building which had different components to assemble and techniques to remember, I had several  make ahead preparations. I baked my cakes way in advance, then packed away to freeze. The frozen cakes were much easier to shape.

Next, was the forming of the marzipan, which I must say came together quite effortlessly. Though, I was wary of the Evil Lord of high heat and humidity, that Mandy gave mention of and hid it in the fridge until right before rolling out.

Thereafter, mixing together the sponge ingredients and baking the cake were not much of a problem. The shaping of the four cubed logs were the challenge, here. I wanted to get them perfect and would shave off more cake each time to achieve perfection. Finally, after sturdy wrapping of marzipan, it compliantly went into the  checked pattern and held perfectly into true block form.

For the second cake, I experimented with the flavors. Since the idea of lemon, coconut Battenburg sounded like a vibrant combination, I put together recipes for the lemon/ coconut sponges and wrapped them in a fun chocolate clay wrap. Altogether, pretty and light, with my daughter's favorite colors pixeling its edible canvas, this also was a stunning piece of cake.

Tension arose when I noticed careless hands trying to bring a knife to my cakes. Yes, we are family, but really?! I wasn't going to allow anyone to possibly ruin my checkered pretties. No one but my trusted self, that is.

Every morsel of both the cakes was decadent and crazy good. From the sweet, fresh almond flavor of marzipan coating, combined with  rich coffee/nut batter to the bright flavor of lemon/coconut  balanced by tangy raspberry preserves, one can't help but be totally besotted with Battenburg.

The smallness of the indulgent treat led to it being devoured, very, very fast.

A must mention; I loved the elaborateness of the whole process, here. It was not over exertingly difficult, but, was a thorough challenge indeed.

Cheers to you, Mandy for this ace of a task. It truly pushed my cake making abilities, helping me to create a beautifully baked and assembled Battenburg.

As I round off this post, humming a few bars of "God Save The Queen", polishing off one of few slices left, I can't help but offer my regal salute to this indulgent monarch of cakes. 
Cheerio!
Coffee and Walnut Battenberg:
(Source: Mary Berry's recipe from the DB Challenge page)
Ingredients :
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks)  unsalted butter, softened & cut in cubes
  • *¾ cup caster sugar
  • *1¼ cups self-raising flour 
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • ½ cup ground almonds (Can be substituted with ground rice)
  • ¾ tsp  baking powder
  • 3 tsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp instant coffee powder
  • 3 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
To Finish~
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp instant coffee
  • 1½ tsp milk or cream
  • *1 cup marzipan
    First time whirring up some marzipan .

Method:
  • Preheat oven to moderate 350°F.
  • Grease an 8”square baking pan with butter. Line with parchment paper, creating a (thick)  stand up divide in the middle with foil and parchment, or prepare Battenberg tin by brushing the tin with melted butter and flouring.
Constructing the pan divider
  • Whisk together dry ingredients (except walnuts and coffee) and combine with the wet ingredients in a large bowl (except vanilla and milk) and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth
  • Spoon half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the vanilla, 1½ teaspoons milk and chopped walnuts.
  • Spread the walnut mixture into the one side of the prepared pan.
  • Dissolve the coffee in the remaining 1½ teaspoon milk and add to the remaining batter, stir until just combined.
  • Spoon the coffee batter into the other half of the prepared baking pan.
  • Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, making sure batter is in each corner.  
  • Bake for 25-30 mins until the cake is risen, springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack
  • Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a long serrated knife.
  • Cut each sponge in half lengthways so that you are left with four long strips of sponge
Freeze cakes a few hours in advance and your cut ups will look neater.
  • Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is as neat and even as possible.
  • Combine the buttercream ingredients (butter, sugar, coffee and cream) together and mix until combined.
  • Spread a thin layer of buttercream onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern .
  • Dust a large flat surface with icing sugar then roll the marzipan in an oblong shape that is wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap the cake.

  • Spread the top of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream.
  • Place the cake on the marzipan, buttercream side down
  • Spread buttercream onto the remaining three sides.
  • Press the modelling chocolate around the cake, making sure the join is either neatly in the one corner, or will be underneath the cake once turned over
  • Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with a knife, you can also crimp the top corners with your fingers to decorate.
  • Neaten the ends of the cake and remove excess chocolate clay by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern.
Notes:
1 c self raising flour = 1c all purpose flour + 1½ tsp baking powder + ¼ tsp salt ( omit if salt is in recipe)
For the marzipan, I used this recipe.
Caster sugar is superfine sugar. I processed granulated sugar to get the fine texture.

Lemon, Coconut Battenburg~

( My own adapted to the techniques on the challenge page)


Ingredients:

  • ½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ c plain greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • ½ tsp vanlla extract
  • ½ c  ground almonds 
  • ¾ c caster sugar
  • 1¼ cups self-raising flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon rind
  • ½ tsp milk
  • ¼ c coconut
  • red food colouring, paste, liquid or gel

To Finish~
Not all even cubed- no worries- they come together when wrapped
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 cup chocolate clay 
Method:
  • Preheat oven to moderate 350°F.
  • Grease an 8X8 " square baking pan with butter.
  • Line pan with parchment paper, creating a divide in the middle with foil and parchment, grease with flour and butter. Otherwise, grease and flour battenburg cake tin.
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients ( except for the lemon rind and coconut) then combine with the wet ingredients ( except for the lemon juice and milk) in a large bowl and beat together just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth
  • In the one half, stir in lemon juice and rind and combine. Add milk, coconut and red food coloring to the remaining batter. Stir until color is distributed and ingredients are combined well.
  • Smooth both halves into each side of the divided pan, smoothing batter with a spatula, making sure batter is in each corner
  • Bake for 25-30 mins until the cake is well risen and a toothpick comes out clean when poked into the center.
  • Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack
  • Once completely cool, trim the edges of the cake with a serrated knife.
  • Cut each coloured sponge in half lengthways so that you have four long cubed strips of sponge.
  • Neaten the strips and trim as necessary so that your checkered pattern is neat and even.
  • Gently heat the jam .
  • Brush warmed jam onto the strips of cake to stick the cake together in a checkered pattern (one yellow next to one pink. On top of that, one pink next to one yellow)
  • Dust a flat surface with icing sugar then roll the clay in a rectangular shape, wide enough to cover the length of the cake and long enough to completely wrap it.
  • Brush the top of the cake with raspberry jam
  • Place the cake on the clay, jam side down.
  • Brush the remaining three sides with jam
  • Press the chcocolate clay around the cake, making sure the join is either neatly in the one corner, or will be underneath the cake once turned over. Roll the cake tightly over to have clay cover it fully.
  • Carefully flip the cake over so that the seam is under the cake and score the top of the cake with  the blunt end of a knife.
  • Neaten the ends of the cake and remove excess clay by trimming off covered cake on both ends to reveal a neat checkered pattern.
Notes:
I made my chocolate modelling clay from candy melts. The recipe found can be found here.

******
It's all you need ~


"Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” John 14:8 (NLT)

27 comments:

  1. wowwwww this is awesome.. superb... toooo goooddd...these words are not enough...
    the cak ei ssooo beautiful.. did u feel like eating it...well i am sure it tasted awesome too...

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    1. Aww, thanks Renu for the sweet words- I actually didn't want to cut through it , but of course, we ate it- all of it! I'm still working on my awards post, FYI :))

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  2. The lemon coconut combination sounds divine! And looks so pretty and vibrant - beautiful cakes :o)

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    1. Thank you Ruth, it was so fun to make, super yum to eat too.

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  3. wow..that looks so beautiful & marvellous..hats off to your baking and the final assembling esp,need lot of patience:-)
    Both the cakes have turned out professional!!

    Ongoing Events at(Erivum Puliyum)-
    1. The Kerala Kitchen(June'12)

    2.EP Series-Basil OR Cardamom

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    1. Thanks so much Julie, you're too kind. I just wanted it to end so I could eat it.

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  4. Wow, I'm speechless. Both the cakes look so delicious and have come out so well. Can't take my eyes out of your pictures. Superb!!!

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    1. Thanks Jayanthi. The directions on the how to were great, so the whole cake baking/assembly was a great experience.

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  5. I agree with you about the awesomeness of coffee in cake (coffee in any baked good, actually!). The colour of the chocolate clay on your lemon-coconut cake is AMAZING. Great job!

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    1. It's so true, right?! Thanks so much Korena- I actually wanted a softer mauve but this was the closest my candy melt mix achieved.

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  6. I cannot even begin to tell you how talented you are :D
    Both cakes are actually amazing!

    Cheers
    CCU

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    1. Thanks so much, Uru- I don't know if it's talent, the directions were pretty good. I truly appreciate your kind words, friend.

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  7. wooooooooooowwwww... amazing work... you're very talented and got lot of patience.. wish I was there when you sliced it.. both cakes are gorgeous :)
    Noel collections

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    Replies
    1. Reshmi, you seem to be creating a lot more over there than I do here- Ms. Talent and Patience, yourself. Thanks much, though.

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  8. Yummmm!
    Your Battenberg cake version looks so tasty!
    And the purple version is really cute
    love the flavors and colors combination

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  9. this requires lots of techniques and patience. you did a good job. you have decorated very beautifully

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    1. Thanks Kanan, it was fun, took time and was eaten up way too fast ;))

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  10. Absolutely stunning, both look totally divine!

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  11. Both of your versions look delicious, and I totally applaud you for completing two. I love the color on the lemon coconut version, and the classic look of the coffe/nut one is just perfect. Really wonderful job.

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    1. Thanks so much Shelley. I didn't think I could do it, but necessity prompted me to make two (necessity to scarf down more cake, that is;))

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  12. My jaws just dropped when I saw this picture.

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  13. Thank you! Give it a try, they'll drop even harder after a tasting ;)))

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  14. WOW.....it looks so perfect and beautiful Tisa! hats off to your patience! I am sure it tasted heavenly :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Ms. Leena, it was good, but completing the challenge was the fun part.

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  15. Tisa this looks amazing! and thanks so much for the recommendation!

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!