Sunday 4 August 2013

Battenburg and the inaugural meeting of the Sutton Clandestine Cake Club

I've wanted to go to a Clandestine Cake Club event for a while but could never make any of them. When I read that a new CCC had started in Sutton, just a couple of miles from where I live, I decided I should really make the effort - and I'm glad I did!

The theme of the cake club was "vintage". First I thought of flowers and chintz but then realised that vintage could also mean retro; essentially anything old. When I was a child in the 80s I remember having battenburg cake (shop-bought) for Sunday tea, and always eating the pink squares before the vanilla ones. I've never made a battenburg so thought it would be a great opportunity to try. I used the recipe from the official Clandestine Cake Club cookery book as well - I won it in a competition a little while ago and hadn't baked anything from it yet, and this was the perfect occasion.

The CCC was really fun and the organiser Hayley did a really good job- though it was a shame not many people came, hopefully there will be more next time! The venue was a pub conservatory where we had bunting across the windows and a table laden with cake stands and fresh flowers - it was lovely. Hayley made a red velvet cake with buttercream frosting, Maureen made a passionfruit and strawberry cake and Gemma made a lemon meringue pie cake. I was really impressed by all three cakes; the textures were incredibly light and the fillings delicious. I don't think my battenburg looked all that great in comparison - the hot weather had made the marzipan split - but it was definitely in keeping with the theme, and seemed to go down well!

Battenburg recipe, by Sally Harvey from the Clandestine Cake Club cookbook. The description of the method is my own, as I didn't follow the instructions given in the recipe, which involved folding a piece of greaseproof paper to cook the yellow and pink layers at the same time - I decided this was too complicated for 9pm on a Friday night so I made the layers separately.

175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
125g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla flavouring
1/4 tsp almond extract
50g ground almonds
pink food colouring
apricot jam
500g marzipan
icing sugar to roll out the marzipan

Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs

Fold in the flour and the ground almonds. Add the vanilla and almond flavourings.

Separate the mixture in two, and spoon half into a greased and lined loaf tin.

Cook at 175C for about 20-25 minutes.

Then add the pink food colouring to the other half of the mixture (I always use a gel colouring) and spoon that into a greased and lined loaf tin.

The pink cake keeps its colour really nicely even after it is cooked

I had to level the tops of the cakes a little so they would be flat.

Slice each half down the middle and place a pink strip on top of a vanilla strip. Next to it, place a vanilla strip on top of a pink strip.

Use apricot jam to sandwich all four strips together.

Roll out the marzipan and cover the whole cake. I found this really hard - I think because of the heat, as no matter how much icing sugar I used, the marzipan kept sticking to the worktop and I found it unmanageable. In the end I split the packet of marzipan in two, rolled out each part and covered the cake in two sections. It was a shame as you could see the join but I don't recommend working with marzipan when it's a really hot day!

When you slice the cake through, you can see the checkerboard effect - just like the battenburgs I used to have as a child!

1 comment:

  1. looks like it turned out o.k.not one of my favourite cakes though.


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