So it begins! For this recipe I used Mary Berry’s of course. That can be found over on BBC. I had to make some adjustments though, because I am allergic to walnuts. So instead of walnut, I made an almond and coffee battenberg. Don’t worry it was still delicious.
Cakes are probably the technical I’m most confident with, bake wise, but decoration wise it’s different. It’s no secret that I’m terrible at decoration. Case and point:
My motto has basically been, as long as it tastes good, who cares what it looks like. Mary Berry naturally disagrees and would probably laugh me out of the room if I showed her either of those cakes. So I think the growth I see through cake technicals is really going to be in decoration and flavor combinations.
This cake is way less sweet than cakes I’m used to, but it’s also so delicious and I want to make it again time and time again. It was really easy to follow Mary’s directions and make though!
For this recipe I pulled out my stand mixer, and handy kitchen scale, which I believe I’ll be using for every bake. The recipes are very British.
The recipe is simple. Just weigh everything into the same bowl (here’s the recipe list I used since I don’t own self-raising flour and do not eat walnuts):
100g sugar (granulated works just fine USAers)
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
50g ground almonds
1/2tsp vanilla extract
3tsp milk (divided)
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
25g chopped walnuts (optional)
Then blend together until just smooth:
It is my number 1 concern when baking to not over work flour. When the recipe told me to use the all in one method I thought it was crazy. I always cream the butter and sugar together first and add the flour last. But Mary Berry said all in one so all in one I went.
Then again, using my kitchen scale I separated the batter into two bowls and added coffee.
So this is where I think I caused the cake to suffer a bit. I added some amaretto to the non-coffee mixture – which resulted in that batter having more liquid and in the end it rose more, which resulted in a not perfectly even cake. It was the right flavor decision, not so much for the end result though.
Next, I scooped it into my weird parchment lined baking sheet (which was challenging and not quite even. I’d love a better solution to this because this feels needlessly challenging. Maybe just use 2 bread tins?)
Then I popped it in the oven.
Now here’s where I’m glad I have a bit of baker’s instinct because the recipe said to bake for 35-40 minutes. There is not much batter here to bake. I don’t know what oven it would ever take that long to bake this. And when I checked on it at 20 minutes it was nearly done. 25 minutes of baking was all this needed. I’m disappointed in the recipe for giving me a time that would result in a 10-15 minute over baked cake. How dry would that nonsense be? But thankfully that didn’t happen and the cakes turned out just right (though slightly different sizes)
This next bit was my least favorite part of the recipe. You have to trim the cake and cut it into 4 equal blocks.
And like, yeah the end result looks nice but there is a lot of wasted cake!
That is perfectly edible cake getting tossed to the side! It’s just a shame.
The buttercream was simple and whipped up quick in a bowl with a spoon.Though I had to add more milk to get it a good creamy consistency.
100g powdered sugar
40g room temperature butter
1/2 tsp instant coffee
1 1/2 tsp – 1 tbsp milk
And Mary does a great job explaining how to assemble the cake. It was my first experience with Marzipan (7oz) and it went surprisingly well:
A nice lovely coating around the outside.
All in all a tasty cake that I probably will make again. I also might just steal the style of it now that I know what I’m doing.
What was difficult:
- Baking time was wrong
- Getting the two halves of batter to be the same size
What I learned:
- Marzipan is a tasty alternative to fondant – I would absolutely use it again
- You don’t need that much butter cream for a delicious cake
- Trust my instincts when something in a recipe seems really wrong!
- The all in one method isn’t so terrible
Would I make this again?
- Absolutely! Though I’d use bread tins instead of dividing the tray with parchment paper. Hopefully that would result in a more even cake and less waste