Battenburg – Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

As usual, it’s grey and rainy in England this Easter bank holiday (why is the weather like this every bank holiday?!) but this Battenburg will sure brighten things up! The pink and cream checkered pattern just screams SPRING! 🙂

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This cake looks so simple but it epitomises the best of British cakes –  moist sponge cake coated in jam and wrapped in marzipan. Oh we British love our jams!

Battenburg_0577 copyWorking with marzipan involves a little mess with kneading, but it’s so much fun and a great activity with kids. Store-bought is the convenient, cheat’s way of doing things, but I will get around to making homemade marzipan – promise!

I used some off cuts to make the mini Battenburg – isn’t it cute?

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Hope everyone’s enjoying the long weekend!

Battenburg (makes 1 cake)
Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food
Ingredients
  • 175g very soft butter
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • pink/red food colouring
To assemble
  • 100g apricot jam
  • 1 x 500g block marzipan

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 20cm square tin with parchment. Add an extra fold in the middle of the pan so you can bake the pink and cream mixture in one pan without the colours mixing. Otherwise, you can bake the mixtures separately in 2 rectangular/loaf pans.
  2. To make the sponge, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy. Then add the eggs and a tablespoon of the flour (to prevent curdling) and beat.
  3. Add the rest of the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, vanilla and almond extract. Beat until the mix comes together smoothly.
  4. Split the mixture in half, and mix in the pink (or red) food colouring to one mixture.
  5. Add the pink mixture to one side of the prepared tin, and the cream mixture to the other side.
  6. Bake for 25-30 mins until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.
  7. To assemble, heat the jam in the microwave for 20 seconds, until runny.
  8. Cut the almond slice in half to create 2 rectangles, and do the same with the pink slice. Trim so they are all the same length and width.
  9. Roll out the marzipan block on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to just over 20cm wide, then keep rolling lengthways until the marzipan is roughly 0.5cm thick.
  10. Brush with apricot jam, then lay a pink and an almond slice side by side at one end of the marzipan, brushing jam in between to stick sponges, and leaving 4cm clear marzipan at the end. Brush more jam on top of the sponges, then sandwich remaining 2 slices on top, alternating colours to give a checkerboard effect. Wrap the marzipan tightly and trim.
  11. This will keep in an airtight box or well wrapped in cling film for up to 3 days, and can be frozen for up to a month.
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The Best Yoghurt Cake – Lemon and Blueberry

This is, hands down, the BEST yoghurt cake. Moist, springy, fragrant. Delicious! And so easy to make!
The cream coloured cake with dark purple blueberries, and flecks of bright yellow lemon zest makes it look all the more appetising.
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This is such an adaptable recipe – I’ve made an orange version by replacing the lemon zest with the zest of 3 oranges and omitting the blueberries. I like my flavours strong so I use more than the usual amount of zest quoted in most recipes. I have tried the recipe with reduced sugar (180g) and the sweetness was just perfect, but feel free to modify to your taste.Lemon, blueberry yoghurt cake 1

This can be made into a layered cake, or a loaf cake drizzled with some zesty icing, or enjoyed by itself with a cup of tea or in my case, coffee. I’m only slightly (I tell myself) addicted…

Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g sugar
  • zest from 2-3 lemons, finely grated
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 250ml low fat greek yoghurt
  • 120ml/100g oil
  • About 1.5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
Method
1. Whisk egg and sugar until pale, thick and creamy (about 3-4 minutes)
2. Add lemon zest, yoghurt, and oil. Beat for a further 1 minute
3. In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Fold into the above mixture, then add the blueberries.
5. Pour batter into a lined 21cm cake tin. Bake at 180C in a preheated oven for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. I cover mine with foil after 30 mins as it just turns brown, but this depends on your oven
6. Leave cake in tin to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a cake rack to cool.

Despicable Me Rainbow Birthday Cake

Rainbow cakes are still such a popular choice for birthday cakes – they are ALL OVER the internet! I mean, who doesn’t like multi-coloured food?! So here’s another addition to the millions already out there 🙂

This cake was for my brother’s girlfriend, and as a Despicable Me fan, the marzipan models were a must. This was the first time I’ve made any type of model using marzipan (or fondant-like material) and I have to say, it is so much fun! You can make just about anything with the stuff! I’ve always steered away from them since I didn’t want to put a lump of sugar on a cake that no-one would eat. But for a fun birthday cake, it adds so much joy!

Despicable me, Rainbow cake

 

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Rainbow cake slice

Many recipes I came across used pre-made cake mix, but that is something that I never buy, so here is my made-from-scratch rainbow recipe:

Vanilla Rainbow Cake

Makes one 6 layer, 8 inch cake. Adapted from Hummingbird Cakes

  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 250g sugar
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 pinch salt
  • 84g butter
  • 240ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Food colouring: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red
  1. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a mixing bowl and beat on slow speed until everything is combined and you have a crumb mixture with a sandy consistency. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is incorporated.
  2. Whisk together the remaining milk, egg and vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and beat until all ingredients are just incorporated. Beat for another 30 seconds until batter is smooth. Do not overmix.
  3. Divide batter into 6 (I weighed them because I’m paranoid), and put your desired food colouring in each bowl.
  4. Divide batter amongst 8 inch baking pans (if you don’t have multiple pans, you can do this in batches) and bake at 170C for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean. Cool before frosting.

Swiss Meringue buttercream

This was not enough to cover the top (hence the cheeky chocolate ganache 😉 ) so I would use 1.5 times this recipe to allow for added decorations. For the piped decorations, I used a peppermint and chocolate chip buttercream by replacing the vanilla extract with peppermint extract.

  • 110g egg whites
  • 183g sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Whisk egg whites and sugar over a bain marie until 64C or sugar has dissolved.
  2. Take off heat and whisk until thick and glossy and bowl feels neutral.
  3. Add butter one at a time until all is incorporated. Minions