• Sugar Bread

The Battle of Battenburg

This week I decided to tackle a technical challenge. Let me tell you it was a challenge in every sense of the word. Mary’s Coffee and Walnut Battenburg cake was more like the Battle of Battenburg and I almost surrendered. The ingredients are easy and straightforward but the devil is in the details. Like I have stated before you need a great kitchen scale and take the time to sit down and read the recipe, make a few notes (my recipe books are marked up left and right). I like to pre-measure and get out all my ingredients so that I know I have everything ready to go.

Ingredients, Great British Baking
The ingredients are easy to find which is nice!

After the batter is mixed you need to divide and this is where it gets tricky it says “spoon more than half the mixture into a second bowl”…. What in the world is that! I am going to tell you a secret I literally baked this cake 4 times trying to figure out what “more than half” is.

I put the batter in the cake with the carefully folded parchment paper, following the instructions to the letter! I even got out my ruler to make sure they were accurate. I had the batter in but one side would bake correctly and the other would not. Cake was building up fast in my home.

This is harder than it looks...

Measure.... measure... measure!

Cake is building up...

My kids loved the scraps that were all building up in my kitchen. To be honest I finally got it down with the coffee walnut cake, but I ended up cooking the vanilla cake by it’s self. Sometimes you win the battle but it isn’t super pretty how you do it. So here is what I ended up with after my many bakes!

Sometimes you have to make do

When the cake bakes divide each portion in half so that you have two even strips of cake (one of my vanilla strips is two put together for height). Hey those technical challenges are hard whether you are under the tent or in your own kitchen like me. I would say that I don’t have Paul and Mary judging my final product but my kids are just as harsh and they hand out handshakes less than Paul does.

Making sure all the pieces are level and the same size is key

Whipping up the coffee buttercream was simple and it tasted delicious. Frosting the sides to stick all the pieces together is very straightforward. Marzipan isn’t used as frequently in the US so it was a little hard to find, but you can’t beat the taste. Some people make their own marzipan, but for this cake I bought it.

Rolling out the marzipan and rolling the cake in it takes a little finesse but it won’t make you cry… like figuring out what “more than half” is. I was able to roll it out with ease after a minute or two of kneading. I placed the cake on and started to roll.

I would ice more of the cake next time so the Marzipan would stick better

Next time ( yes I laugh as I say this) I would frost all the sides of the cake before rolling, but the instructions didn’t call for that. I pinched the topsides and sprinkled some icing sugar on the top and placed a few chopped walnuts.

It's not perfect but it is beautiful and it tasted delicious!

The cake got a 3 out of 4 stars from my family, meaning my 11yr old daughter was not a fan, but she doesn’t like almond flavored things. So I guess the question is would I make this again… I think I would but I need an adjustable pan to get all the measurements correct so my layers can be spot on. There is a version of this cake that is more fitting for spring so maybe around Easter I will try again!

Next week we have a HUGE surprise... I mean MEGA HUGE for all our readers so make sure to stay tuned!

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