Bake #2: Battenburg

The challenge:

A pistachio and cherry battenburg cake.

What happened:

So first technical challenge: Battenburg. Ok I know what that is. Looking around the tent I see that not many he others do so I’m figuring that’s going to count in my favor. Now, I’ve never made one of them. I have bought them in the UK loads of times but it’s not something I’d ever make – seems like a lot of work for what, in the end, is just a marzipan wrapped sponge cake with some jam in it.

Basically, in the UK, a Battenburg is something your gran is likely to have in the cupboard. It comes in a clear package, is a long rectangular cake wrapped in marzipan with – and this is the “clever” bit – two different colors of cake arrange in a checkerboard pattern inside. The cake is usually pink and yellow. Who know’s what flavor? It’s just sponge with pink and yellow coloring. Importantly though the ends are exposed so you can see the checks. I have to admit my dirty little secret which is that I actually quite like them.

Obviously that sounds pretty uninspiring but we’re making a fancy pants one with cherry and pistachio flavor. Plus, and this break from tradition has already horrified some of my UK friends, an extra layer of fondant is going around the cake.

So down to it. We’ve got a sponge to make, one flavored with cherry, the other with pistachio (in the form of a pistachio paste which has a great if slightly disturbing color). With the cake batter done and in the oven it’s on to rolling out marzipan and fondant. We’re supposed to make the fondant pink. It doesn’t say how pink, I’ve never had fondant on a Battenburg and I never use food coloring. So I put a blob of red food coloring in my white fondant. Shocking pink is alright yes? Maybe it’ll look nice with the pistachios?

So by this time I’m feeling a fairly happy with myself. I can hear lots of people fretting about what it might look like and since I know, I think I’m killing this challenge.


So then out comes my sponge which I note has not really risen very much not only that I then discover after sawing off the top that there’s a big chunk not really cooked through in the middle. Hmm. Need to do something creative. So with some judicious trimming I grab the good bits from around the outside and hope that no-one notices. Having trimmed away a about 2/3 of my cake I will now be making a petite Battenburg. It’s actually not much smaller than the commercial ones I remember – but putting it on the “Gingham altar” I see it looks a lot smaller than anyone else’s!


So they liked the flavor though the over pinkness and daintiness were mentioned. Overall 5th so middle of the pack


I probably won’t make Battenburg again and if I do I won’t wrapping it in fondant. Another good starter challenge for our first day in the tent.









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