Lemon Raspberry Battenberg Cake

BattenbergCake_cover

Hello, and happy spring!

Sort of.

If you live on the East Coast like I do, you’ve probably noticed that it most emphatically does not feel like spring. I, for one, woke up on Sunday to cute, smiley little Google Doodle rocks proclaiming the first day of spring juxtaposed against the pitter patter of a light but frigidly cold drizzle outside.

What happened to sunshine and shorts and actually being able to feel my toes?

Fortunately, it did stop raining for long enough to do a very quick photo shoot of this far more seasonably appropriate pink and yellow Battenberg Cake. Despite the miserable weather, rainy days are the perfect excuse to stay indoors and bake up a delightful concoction of fruity flavors and fluffy Victoria sponge. And just in time for almost Easter!

BattenbergCake_intermed1

Anyway, in this week’s installment of Wikipedia digest of random dessert-related facts with Anne, Battenberg cake was apparently named in 1884 in honor of Princess Victoria’s wedding to Prince Louis, whose house resided in Battenberg, Hesse in Germany. And because Princess Victoria was the granddaughter of the Queen Victoria, her entry into holy matrimony naturally meant a whole new type of cake to mark the occasion. (Priorities.)

It is also apparently most emphatically not the same thing as American checkerboard cake, which also looks, well, checkerboard-y when cut upon.

No matter what you call it and why, Battenberg cake is wonderfully delicious and thankfully very forgiving, making it the perfect fancy treat for any beginner. So go ahead and put on a kettle, bring out the fancy silverware, cut yourself a thick slice for afternoon (or Easter!) tea, and dream about warm, sunny summer days to come. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Tuesday,
Anne

BattenbergCake_intermed2


Lemon Raspberry Battenberg Cake

Victoria sponge recipe slightly adapted from Jamie’s Home Cooking
Marzipan recipe from The Daring Gourmet
Makes one 3″ x  3″ x 8″ cake

Ingredients:

Lemon Victoria Sponge:
190 g (1 1/2 cups) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 organic lemon for zest
3/4 cups butter, softened
190 g (1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp lemon extract
Red food coloring

Marzipan:
190 g (1 1/2 cups) blanched almond flour
190 g (1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp rose water (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 large egg white

Raspberry Jam:
6 oz raspberries
4 tsp sugar
2 tbs fruit pectin

Simple Syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
(Alternatively, just use more raspberry jam)

Directions:

Lemon Victoria Sponge:

  1. Prepare the baking pan lining:
    1. Cut out a piece of cardboard (I used a cereal box!) trimmed to the size of the cross section of the 8″ square baking pan.
      Tip: If you are incredibly OCD like I am, use a sheet of paper to measure the width of the bottom of your pan, the height, and the width of the top of your pan, then use these measurements to draw out a trapezoid that fits perfectly into your baking pan. Otherwise, trim out a rectangle that fits the bottom portion of the baking pan, then use aluminum foil to make up the difference at the top.
    2. Cover the trimmed cardboard with aluminum foil.
    3. Cut out a sheet of parchment paper with the same width as the bottom of your baking pan, then fold it in half with the crease lining up with the top edge of your foil-covered cardboard.
    4. Fold back the excess parchment paper away from the center fold to create a small divider wall with the cardboard section.
    5. Lightly grease your baking pan, then place the divider inside as shown in the picture below to split the baking pan into two equal-sized sections.
      BattenbergCake_pan
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 ºF.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the lemon zest until well combined.
  4. In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the lemon extract then the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Pour 1/2 of the liquid mixture into a third bowl and add exactly 4 drops of red food coloring, stirring well to combine.
  6. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture into each liquid mixture, then stir each just until combined and no dry floury streaks remain.
  7. Transfer the pink half of the batter into one of the compartments of your baking pan and the yellow half of the batter into the other.
    Tip: Don’t worry if the batter is thick and hard to spread and your baking pan seems super empty – mine was too! This recipe will rise a lot as it bakes.
    BattenbergCake_batter
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or just until a toothpick into stuck into the center of each half AND about 1/2″ away from the divider on each cake are clean when removed.
    Tip: It is very important not to overbake your cake. If you do, the top layers of the cake will brown and your slices will be vaguely browned on one edge instead of having perfect pink and yellow checker squares. I recommend checking every minute after 18 minutes, using the toothpick to see if the cake is done.
  9. Immediately remove the cakes from the pan and set aside to cool!

BattenbergCake_baked

Marzipan:

  1. Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food process and blitz until well combined. Gently form into a ball and wrap in saran wrap until you are ready to roll it out!
    Tip: You will probably have extra marzipan after wrapping the cake and trimming the edges. Don’t worry – just wrap it up in saran wrap and keep it in the refrigerator. Marzipan is delicious eaten directly as candy or molded like culinary Play-Doh into fun shapes for all of your decorating needs!

Raspberry Jam:

  1. Puree the raspberries in a blender, then strain the raspberry pulp through a fine-mesh sieve, saving the juice and discarding the seeds.
  2. Transfer the raspberry juice into a small pot and stir in the pectin. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Immediately after the mixture starts to bubble, stir in the sugar. Boil until the mixture comes to a rolling boil (the mixture will continue to bubble even as you stir), then immediately turn off the stove, stirring the mixture on the hot burner until the mixture stops bubbling.
  4. Set the jam aside for assembly!

Simple Syrup:

  1. Mix together the water and sugar, heating the mixture in the microwave and mixing until the sugar is fully dissolved. Set aside for assembly!
    Tip: Technically, you can use raspberry jam in place of simple syrup, but I personally liked the look of raspberry jam in the middle only and no red border between the cake and the marzipan. The cake will come together fine in either case!

Assembly:

  1. Trim the two cooled cakes so that they are exactly the same width and a relatively uniform height along the length of the cake, then cut each cake in half lengthwise.
    Tip: For perfect cake cuts, saw back and forth using a large serrated blade like a bread knife.
  2. Spread raspberry jam on exactly 1 side along the length of each cake piece. Press the jam-covered side of each pink piece to the jam-covered side of a yellow piece.
  3. Spread raspberry jam on exactly 1 of the wide sides of each of the 2 resultant pink-yellow cake pieces. Press the jam-covered sides of each piece together so that each pink piece is directly adjacent to a yellow piece and diagonal from the other pink piece, and vice versa for the yellow pieces.
  4. Roll out the marzipan to a thin uniform sheet 1/16″ to 1/8″ thick. The rolled out sheet should be at least 8″ wide and 15″ long.
    Tip: If you have a hard time rolling out an even sheet, don’t worry! Place a bamboo kebab skewer on either side of your dough and roll to your heart’s content – your rolling pin will be stopped by the skewers at their exact thickness. Just remember to rotate the positions of your skewers to keep them perpendicular to the rolling pin.
  5. Trim the marzipan to form a smooth, straight edge along the width of the sheet.
  6. Brush one of the sides of the assembled cake pieces with simple syrup, then lay down the cake syrup-side down against the straight edge of the marzipan. The length of the cake should be laid along the width of the marzipan.
    BattenbergCake_assembly1
  7. Brush the remaining sides of the cake with simple syrup, then roll the cake along the marzipan until the entire exterior of the cake is covered except for the two ends.
  8. Trim off the excess marzipan and seal together the edges of the marzipan along the length of the cake by pinching gently with slightly wet fingers.
  9. Using a sharp knife, score a diagonal thatched design across the top of the cake.
  10. Slice and enjoy!
    Tip: The cake tastes even better after being covered and chilled in the refrigerator overnight for the flavors and layers to meld together (:

BattenbergCake_final

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