June Daring Baker’s Challenge – Battenberg Cake

You thought the challenges stopped with cooking didn’t you? Haha guess again!

I had to join the Daring Baker’s challenges too! I mean really, you think I could stop with just one challenge a month?
When I saw the Daring Baker’s challenge for June was a Battenberg cake, my jaw dropped. I had never seen or heard of this cute little cake and I will admit, I was extremely nervous to make it (with good reason as you’ll soon learn…).
For those of you who are not familiar with the Battenberg cake, it is a light sponge cake that displays a two-by-two check pattern and is usually covered in marzipan.
When I saw that I had the option to cover the cake in either marzipan or chocolate, I went for the chocolate (big surprise right?!). Though marzipan brings up loving memories of my grandparents and lunches at Andres where I was allowed to pick my favorite animal-shaped marzipan for dessert, chocolate is a weakness I cannot control.
Making this recipe was slightly painful. I hate admitting that I struggled with this damn cake, but I did. I attribute my near breakdown to two major things. First, the divider I made for my cake pan was evidently not strong enough so one cake came out bigger than the other. After a LOT of cutting, I got the cakes down to almost the same size.

I am a bit of a perfectionist so the fact that my cake was not geometrically perfect still drives me nuts….

The second painful process was dealing with the chocolate modeling clay. Chocolate is so ridiculously temperamental and I will freely admit that I have not come close to mastering the stuff. When I FINALLY got the clay soft enough to mold (with the assistance of my husband because at this point I was freaking out about my cake falling apart so I was fairly useless in my panicked state), my fingers proved to be too slow while icing and wrapping the cake so I ended up with two tears on top of the cake (now you know why I don’t have any pictures of the top, it really wasn’t pretty).

Despite how challenging this cake was, it was totally worth the pain in the end because the combination of the chocolate, cakes, and icing was heavenly. I am seriously considering doubling the recipe next time just so I can double the size of the cake. While I appreciate the petite adorableness of it, it vanished far too quickly.

And the fact that I am even considering making this cake again is a huge testament to how delicious this cake is.

Coffee and Walnut Battenberg

Cakes:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut in cubes

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 1/4 cups self-raising flour

3 large eggs, room temp

1/2 cup ground almonds

3/4 tsp baking powder

3 tso milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder or granules

3 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped

Icing:

1/2 cup unsalted butted

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp instant coffee

1 1/2 tsp milk or cream

Dark Chocolate Plastique (Modeling Chocolate)

7 oz good quality dark chocolate

1/4 cup light corn syrup

Preheat oven to moderate 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square baking tin with butter. Line the tin with parchment paper, creating a divide in the middle with the parchment OR prepare the Battenberg tin by brushing the tin with melted butter and flouring.

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, 1 1/2 teaspoons milk and chopped walnuts. Spoon the walnut mixture into the one side of the prepared baking tin.

Dissolve the coffee in the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon milk and add to the remaining batter, stir until just combined. Spoon the coffee batter into the other half of the prepared baking tin. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula, making sure the batter is in each corner.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake is well risen, springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

To make the modeling chocolate, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, stir occassionally. Once completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Stir in corn syrup, it will seize up almost immediately so just keep stirring until mixed and comes away from the side of the bowl.

Transfer chocolate into a sealable bag, spread the chocolate out and seal the bag. Leave overnight or refrigerate for about 2 hours until completely firm. Turn out from the bag and knead on a surface dusted with powdered sugar, at first it will just break but as you knead, it will warm up and start to become pliable. Knead until pliable enough to roll out or mold, 5-10 minutes.

Combine the buttercream icing ingredients 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 modeling chocolate 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 and plan the cake on the chocolate, buttercream side down.

Spread buttercream onto the remaining three sides. Press the chocolate around the cake, making sure the join is either neatly in 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 by trimming off a small bit of cake on both ends to reveal the pattern.

Now I am off to Mexico so I will see you all back here in a couple weeks!! Happy Independence Day! Go cook/bake something delicious 🙂

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3 thoughts on “June Daring Baker’s Challenge – Battenberg Cake

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