Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Bakewell Battenberg

How much can you truly know about yourself, until you’ve been pushed?

We enjoy a largely uncomplicated relationship you and I and as of yet our perambulation through the baking wonderland has been for the most part free from peril. However a little danger now and again is no bad thing and I believe you are more than ready for an altogether more exacting test. The baking of this Bakewell Battenberg is alone relatively untroublesome, but the challenge lies in its final construction. Delicacy, patience and a steady hand and all are key to success with this recipe, but with a little focus I have no doubt you will avoid any potential calamities and prevail spectacularly.

Prep time: 20Mins + 30Mins Assembly
Baking time: 40-45Mins
175g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
175g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tsp Almond Extract
100g Ground Almonds
100g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
400g Marzipan
300g (Around 1 Jar) of Raspberry Jam

Steel yourself, as we are about to begin. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a 30cm loaf tin and line the base with baking paper. In a large bowl cream together the butter and the sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla and almond extracts. Fold through the ground almonds, then sift in the flour with the baking powder and mix until combined. Spoon into your prepared tin, even the mixture out to edges and bake in the centre of the oven for around 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the sponge. Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for 20 minutes, then remove and leave until cool on a wire rack.

When the sponge is cool the fun can really begin. Trim the brown edges from the cooled sponge, then cut lengthways into four equal long slices. The sponge will be very delicate, so do this (and everything to follow) with care. Heat the jam in a saucepan until loose then pass through a sieve or strainer to remove any lumps and pips. On a clean dry surface place one of the long sponge slices and spread the top and sides with the warm jam. I used the back of a teaspoon for this task as I feared a brush would damage the sponge. Place another slice alongside and press gently together. Cover the remaining exposed sides with more jam. Place another slice on top of the first and repeat, then finally do the same with the last slice, so you are left with four sponge slices, sandwiched into the traditional battenberg shape.

You can obtain ready rolled marzipan but if you are unable to locate any then roll the marzipan out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. The marzipan should be rolled to about a 35-40cm square, which should be more than adequate. Very carefully lift the sandwiched sponges over to the marzipan, upturn (so the jammy top is now on the bottom) and place on the marzipan. Brush the top with a final coating of jam then wrap entirely in the marzipan, pressing each side firmly to secure, trimming off any excess marzipan. You can slice immediately, however I find you achieve a better finish leaving the cake in a cool place for an hour prior to serving. Take a long deep breath and relax, you are finished.

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