You can't get more British than a traditional Battenberg cake, a tasty teatime treat that when cut in a cross section displays a wonderfully distinctive two-by-two check pattern of pink and yellow, each layer having been spread with apricot jam and then the whole thing covered in a tin and tasty layer of delectable marzipan. Or can you???
Well, I am all about preserving traditions. I am a great traditionalist at heart. I am also a bit of an innovator. I also like to stretch the norm a bit and to explore the possibilities that traditions present to us . . .
Traditional dishes are lovely, and I adore them . . . but they can also be a wonderful canvas upon which to paint new traditions and create new ideas.
It has been claimed that the original battenberg cake was created in honour of the marriage in 1884 of Queen Victoria's granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg, with the four distinct squares of cake representing the four Battenbery princes . . .
My version was created in honour of the fact that I love chocolate and Todd doesn't. This is a happy medium between the two, giving us each a little taste of what pleases most . . .
Imagine . . . a checkerboard cake, consisting of a deliciously moist yellow cake alternating with a moreishly scrummy hunk of mocha cake . . . cut into rectangles and glued together with oh-so-addictively indulgent chocolate hazelnut spread.
I like to unwrap it like a gift . . . first peeling off the marzipan and nom noming down on that . . . and then each little square gets my full attention . . . could anything on earth be any scrummier???
Well, probably yes . . . but for right now, at this moment in time . . . no.
This is the perfect teatime indulgence for today!
Makes one cake
Mocha and vanilla layers, sealed together with yummy hazelnut chocolate spread, and then wrapped in the traditional marzipan wrap! Scrummy!
6 ounces self raising flour
(1 1/4 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
6 ounces caster sugar
(scant 1 cup)
6 ounces soft margarine
3 eggs, beaten
2 to 3 drops of vanilla extract
1 TBS cocoa powder, sifted
1 TBS strong black coffee
hazelnut chocolate spread, as needed
1 pound (16 ounces) prepared marzipan
Caster sugar to roll the marzipan out on
Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Grease and base line two one pound loaf tins. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, margarine and eggs into a bowl. Beat well together with an electric whisk. Divide the mixture in half. Stir the vanilla into half of the batter. Stir the cocoa powder and coffee into the other half. Put each mixture into one each of the prepared tins. Bake for about 20 minutes, until risen and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and lift out of the pans to cool on a wire rack. Once cool, trim both cakes to make neat, matching rectangles. Cut each in half lengthwise. Sandwhich one of each flavour together with chocolate spread. Then join both pairs together alternately with more chocolate spread to make a single block. Dust the counter top with some caster sugar. Roll the marzipan out thinly on it into a rectangle large enough to wrap around the cake. Spread the cake on all four sides with more chocolate spread and then wrap the marzipan around, crimping the corners and trimming the ends. Dust with more caster sugar if needed. Cut into slices to serve.
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