Saturday, 23 April 2011

Chocolate and Matcha Battenberg - We Should Cocoa 8

It's rare for me to post something so close to the day I've actually made it, as I seem to have a permanent backlog, but this one has jumped the queue as time is running out. I've been admiring Battenberg cakes I've seen on various blog sites for a while, but I've managed to ignore the urge to make one until now. To be honest, I was a little nervous and suspected it might be beyond my capabilities. With this month's We Should Cocoa challenge being marzipan, it seemed like I should stop wimping out and give this rather gorgeous looking retro cake a try. Of course, I wasn't interested in making the traditional pink and yellow version, oh no, I wanted something a little different and it had to contain chocolate of course. I'm also a fan of using matcha with chocolate, so decided to use up the last of the Vitalife matcha sample I was sent a few months ago. As my base I used the recipe from Fiona Cairns' Bake & Decorate. As it was for We Should Cocoa and also for an Easter tea with friends, I thought I ought to make my own marzipan.  I had a look at the ingredients on some commercial marzipan and that sealed the deal for me: only 24% almonds compared to my 60%, the rest of it was sugar. In the back of my mind, however, I had a vague memory of struggling with my last attempt at marzipan which was crumbly and difficult to roll.

This is how I did it:
  • Mixed 175g ground almonds with 100g icing sugar.
  • Made a well in the centre and added 1 duck egg yolk, 3 tsp lemon juice, 3 drops of almond essence and a splash of water.
  • Mixed initially with a spoon then brought together with my hands to form a ball.
  • Sifted 200g flour (1/2 wholemeal spelt and 1/2 white) into a bowl with 1 rounded tsp of baking powder.
  • Added 200g natural granulated sugar, 200g softened unsalted butter (cubed) and 3 duck eggs.
  • Beat together with a hand held mixer.
  • Added a large tbsp Greek yogurt and beat some more.
  • Spooned half of the mixture into another bowl.
  • Added 2 tsp matcha to one bowl and 3 tsp cocoa to the other bowl and mixed.
  • Spooned mixtures into a 9" (23 cm) square cake mould using a piece of upright baking paper as a divider down the middle.
  • Baked at 180C for 20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
  • Left to cool for 10 minutes then turned out onto a rack to cool completely.
  • Then proceeded to spend an inordinate amount of time making a mess.
  • Trimmed the cake and cut into 4 equal rectangles of 4.5 x 21 cm.
  • Warmed some of my marrow and ginger jam, which was already quite runny.
  • Brushed this over the cake pieces and "glued" them together to form a rectangle with alternate colour segments.
  • Rolled out the marzipan to a size I thought would cover the cake. This is where I really came a cropper as the marzipan just cracked and wouldn't hold together.
  • Brushed the outside of the cake rectangle with more jam and tried to wrap the pieces of marzipan around the edge.
  • Scored a criss-cross over the top of the cake to try and improve its appearance :(
  • Made these truffles with the leftover cake.
How right I was to doubt the marzipan! Still, although this cake may not have looked quite as I'd envisaged or hoped, it was most certainly delicious.  The cake was firm but moist and the two flavours complemented each other nicely (I did try the trimmings). Both the cocoa and the matcha flavours were present, but neither dominated. The marzipan may have been crumbly, but it tasted delicious. It was almondy, of course, but not overpoweringly so and certainly not overly sweet. This cake has yet to be tasted by anyone else, but I'm feeling fairly confident that it will be enjoyed later on today, crumbling and cracked marzipan notwithstanding. If it hadn't been for the We Should Cocoa challenge, I would never have made this cake. I'm not sure I'm likely to make it again, either. If I do, I'll use bought marzipan, unless someone out there can explain the arcane mysteries of successful, pliable marzipan to me.

PS Now back from moorland tea party. The Battenberg was enjoyed by all as part of a sumptuous spread.

26 comments:

  1. I think it looks great. You should have seen my attempt at battenberg a few months back! It is a faff to make, but tastes good.

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  2. Congratulations on attempting your own marzipan! The cake looks very pretty, and I'm sure the flavours will blend together well.

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  3. Beautiful twist on a classic! Kudos on the marzipan too!

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  4. I love that you did a battenberg too! And I am so impressed that you made your own marzipan. I have a cake decorating book that has a recipe for a cooked marzipan that's supposed to be easier to work with than the normal stuff, I'll have to dig it out and send it to you if you fancy having a go :)

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  5. Looks excellent. Battenbury is my Mum's favourite .. I wonder if she'd like this chocolate version???

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  6. Kath - thank you. Faffy food is not my favourite sort of baking, but even though it all fell apart when cut into, it still had a certain wow factor.

    Suelle - thank you. The cake tasted really good thankfully. Interesting on the marzipan front. The book I was using said not to handle it too much as it would go oily. My mother, who also made hers this year, kneaded hers for ages which made it soft, pliable and easy to roll - she had no problems with it cracking. Will have to try her method next time. It does taste so much better than commercial marzipan though, so definitely worth the effort.

    Hanna - thank you. Matcha and chocolate are a great combination.

    Aveen - I nearly changed my mind about making this when I saw yours, especially as it looked so good. But, I thought it was sufficiently different with the matcha not to matter too much. I'd be interested to have your recipe for cooked marzipan if you wouldn't mind sending it - sounds interesting.

    Chocolate Here - thank you. How could your mum fail to like a chocolate version?

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  7. Gorgeous looking battenberg cake you made here. I like the matcha with chocolate pairing, made the cake that bit more interesting. Bet it was as delicious as it looked! I just put up my post for this challenge today. Check it out and tell me what you think!

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  8. What a lovely looking tea party too!

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  9. Battenberg Cake reminds me of my childhood. It looks lovely and moist too.

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  10. As soon as I saw the recipe, I was going to ask you where you got the match from as I have been struggling to find some where I am, then I read your entry and noted acquisition :)

    I waqs not that keen on Battenberg when I was a child, but i have to say this up-dated version is very appealing, fantastic colours too.

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  11. Great job on the battenburg!

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  12. That is indeed a spead. Mmmmmmmm :P

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  13. Foodiva - thank you. Yes indeed, matcha and chocolate go really well together. Your WSC entry looks amazing.

    Kath - it was, my camara didn't do it justice and the garden was looking fantastic with loads of apple trees covered in blossom.

    Corina - I had a piece of bought Battenberg somewhere recently and could barely bring myself to eat it, it was so sweet.

    Janice - thank you

    Jac - and very nice it was too :)

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  14. MangoCheeks - I wouldn't know where to get matcha other than online or a friendly visitor from Japan. Commercial Battenberg is way too sweet - this is so much nicer ;-)

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  15. Wow looks wonderful and I'm impressed you made your own marzipan. Love the use of matcha too. I've yet to find/bake with that myself. The tea spread looks great!

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  16. I was umming and ahhing over Zeb bakes' Battenberg last year... These cakes fascinate me. They look awesome, but not sure I would be able to put one together.
    The marzipan...phew! I adore the stuff, and have certainly thought long and hard about making it, but my thoughts keep falling back to a 50's cookbook of mine that says..."don't bother trying to make it, buy it." After seeing your troubles, maybe they are right? I'm sure I would have eaten every crumb of yours though Choclette. A sumptuous spread indeed!

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  17. It looks so pretty, I love the colours.

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  18. I haven't had battenberg in years and it's brought back some great memories.

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  19. What a great idea and challenge! I think you did great!

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  20. Katie - thank you. I've been a matcha fan ever since first using it in baking last year.

    CityHippy - no, don't give up on making your own marzipan - it's so much nicer than bough could ever be. Just don't use my recipe or knead it more than I did. And if I can make some semblance of a battenberg, you most certainly could.

    Chele - thanks

    Viking - it is a bit of a nostalgia cake.

    Hazel - thank you. I was pleased just to have made the attempt.

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  21. What a great idea for a battenberg. The green and brown look really good together.

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  22. Yay! Another Battenburg fan! It looks lovely.I've wanted to try matcha for ages but everywhere I look it is so expensive, maybe it just is?

    I laughed when you said about making a mess. It is a messy cake no doubt about it. I kept all the trimmings from mine in the freezer and then one day (ahem) I just ate them.

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  23. how didn't I know that battenberg cake is traditionally covered in marzipan - love your alternate filling - makes it much more attractive to me than pink and yellow

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  24. Maggie - Thank you.

    Joanna - Yes, matcha is rather expensive. I had no idea of this when CT bought some back from Japan and used it with gay abandon - rather regret it now. Not sure I'd go as far as to say I was a fan of battenberg - not sure I'd be making it again in a hurry.

    Johanna - Thank you. Probably because the commercial ones are so sweet you can't really taste the marzipan :-S

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  25. Your battenburg sounds amazing! I just love the sound of the flavour combinations you've got going on!!

    Marzipan can be a fickle thing... I make mine as a centre for chocolates and my recipe is completely different! I would say that the sugar plays a pretty big role, my recipe uses 3x as much icing sugar as almonds!! If you seive the almonds as well you'll be getting rid of the bigger bits and making it a lot smoother and a bit easier to work with. I also usually make it in a food processor, just because it's so much quicker and it's easy to see when it's got the right consistency. It sounds like the marzipan is too dry here, so you would need more liquid, but honestly, I wouldn't add water, I'd make up a syrup instead (equal parts water and sugar, by weight) and add that.

    Don't give up!!

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  26. Canada - thanks for your kind comment and also for the marzipan advice.

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