It’s rare for me to post something so close to the day I’ve actually made it, as I seem to have a permanent backlog, but this one has jumped the queue as time is running out. I’ve been admiring Battenberg cakes I’ve seen on various blog sites for a while, but I’ve managed to ignore the urge to make one until now. To be honest, I was a little nervous and suspected it might be beyond my capabilities.
With this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge being marzipan, it seemed like I should stop wimping out and give this rather gorgeous looking retro cake a try. Of course, I wasn’t interested in making the traditional pink and yellow version, oh no, I wanted something a little different and it had to contain chocolate of course. I’m also a fan of using matcha with chocolate, so decided to use up the last of the Vitalife matcha sample I was sent a few months ago.
As my base I used the recipe from Fiona Cairns’ Bake & Decorate. As it was for We Should Cocoa and also for an Easter tea with friends, I thought I ought to make my own marzipan. I had a look at the ingredients on some commercial marzipan and that sealed the deal for me: only 24% almonds compared to my 60%, the rest of it was sugar. In the back of my mind, however, I had a vague memory of struggling with my last attempt at marzipan which was crumbly and difficult to roll.
This is how I did it:
- Mixed 175g ground almonds with 100g icing sugar.
- Made a well in the centre and added 1 duck egg yolk, 3 tsp lemon juice, 3 drops of almond essence and a splash of water.
- Mixed initially with a spoon then brought together with my hands to form a ball.
- Sifted 200g flour (1/2 wholemeal spelt and 1/2 white) into a bowl with 1 rounded tsp of baking powder.
- Added 200g natural granulated sugar, 200g softened unsalted butter (cubed) and 3 duck eggs.
- Beat together with a hand held mixer.
- Added a large tbsp Greek yogurt and beat some more.
- Spooned half of the mixture into another bowl.
- Added 2 tsp matcha to one bowl and 3 tsp cocoa to the other bowl and mixed.
- Spooned mixtures into a 9″ (23 cm) square cake mould using a piece of upright baking paper as a divider down the middle.
- Baked at 180C for 20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
- Left to cool for 10 minutes then turned out onto a rack to cool completely.
- Then proceeded to spend an inordinate amount of time making a mess.
- Trimmed the cake and cut into 4 equal rectangles of 4.5 x 21 cm.
- Warmed some of my marrow and ginger jam, which was already quite runny.
- Brushed this over the cake pieces and “glued” them together to form a rectangle with alternate colour segments.
- Rolled out the marzipan to a size I thought would cover the cake. This is where I really came a cropper as the marzipan just cracked and wouldn’t hold together.
- Brushed the outside of the cake rectangle with more jam and tried to wrap the pieces of marzipan around the edge.
- Scored a criss-cross over the top of the cake to try and improve its appearance 🙁
- Made these truffles with the leftover cake.
How right I was to doubt the marzipan! Still, although this cake may not have looked quite as I’d envisaged or hoped, it was most certainly delicious. The cake was firm but moist and the two flavours complemented each other nicely (I did try the trimmings). Both the cocoa and the matcha flavours were present, but neither dominated. The marzipan may have been crumbly, but it tasted delicious. It was almondy, of course, but not overpoweringly so and certainly not overly sweet.
This cake has yet to be tasted by anyone else, but I’m feeling fairly confident that it will be enjoyed later on today, crumbling and cracked marzipan notwithstanding. If it hadn’t been for the We Should Cocoa challenge, I would never have made this cake. I’m not sure I’m likely to make it again, either. If I do, I’ll use bought marzipan, unless someone out there can explain the arcane mysteries of successful, pliable marzipan to me.
PS Now back from moorland tea party. The chocolate matcha battenberg was enjoyed by all as part of a sumptuous spread.