Thursday, 25 May 2017

Cherry-Chocolate Battenberg Cake with Cherry-Almond Marzipan (gluten free)


Who loves a good Battenberg cake? Moist chequerboard sponge surrounded by rich, soft, nutty marzipan....... Just gorgeous.

For those of you unfamiliar with Battenberg, it traditionally incorporates pink and yellow sponge squares, with a distinct, almond flavoured marzipan coat. Some while back, I perfected an incredible gluten free version of this original gem, which was quite frankly, the Best Battenberg Cake I Had Ever Tasted.....!


Being one of the wonders of my childhood teatime however, I couldn't leave it there. Ever since my 'Best Battenberg', I have been dreaming of chequerboard sponges in any number of colour and flavour combinations..... Finally, I have grabbed my baking tins and succumbed to experimentation..... and boy, has it been worth it.

This gluten free Battenberg is smart, sophisticated and just a little bit different..... Different is good right? The central chequerboard of contrasting chocolate and cherry sponge cakes, rich and moist from the ground almonds they contain, sandwiched together with fruity cherry jam..... all enrobed with easy-to-make, deliciously sweet, home-made no-cook marzipan...... pinked up and given a flavour-makeover with some tart, summery, freeze-dried cherry powder.


Tempted? You should be! This cake is delicious. An age-old classic (which apparently dates back to Victorian times) updated with a modern favourite chocolate-cherry flavour combo, fit for the smartest of afternoon teas..... Ritz and Fortnum and Mason take note.....

I mentioned that the marzipan is home made and no-cook. If you ever thought making marzipan would be tricky, think again. Whilst some recipes are more complex than others, this one is the simplest on the planet and tastes way better than those ready-packets in the supermarket. It literally takes 5 minutes to mix up.


It is a recipe which (in its basic form) I first discovered over at I'd Much Rather Bake Than.... It tastes so good and is so easy to work, that it has found its way into a number of recipes on The Gluten Free Alchemist :

Best Battenberg Cake
Chocolate-Covered Marzipan Stars
Pistachio, Orange and Raspberry Fondant Fancies
Almond, Cherry, Apricot and Marzipan Hot Cross Buns
Christmas Cake
Autumnal Spiced Pumpkin and Walnut Cakes

All you need to make it are some ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and an egg. If you don't want to use egg yolk, just leave it out and substitute with extra white. It's probable that you could make it with aqua faba too, if you want to attempt a vegan version, although I have not tried.... yet. But hey! Give it a go..... If it works, let me know.


Once you have your marzipan ingredients, just throw them together in a large bowl, mix to combine and then knead until smooth. How easy is that?

If you want to get clever with different flavour versions, just add freeze-dried fruit powders or change your flavourings and extracts as you wish..... I love the pretty pink attention-seeking hue from the cherry powder added to the marzipan on this Battenberg cake, with its little love-hearts that lure you to come taste.... Will you?


I am sharing my gluten free Cherry-Chocolate Battenberg Cake with the following :


Cook Blog Share with Everyday Healthy Recipes

Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel and Free From Farmhouse






Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Love Cake with Jibber Jabber - This month's theme is 'get in shape'.


We Should Cocoa with Tin & Thyme

Fiesta Fridays

Bake of the Week with Mummy Mishaps and Casa Costello

Cherry-Chocolate Battenberg Cake

Ingredients

Chocolate Sponge
80g plain gluten free flour blend - I used blend A from this post)
20g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon GF baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch fine sea salt
50g ground almonds
110g milk
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
50g unsalted butter - softened
150g caster sugar
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Cherry Sponge
100g plain gluten free flour blend - I used blend A from this post)
½ teaspoon GF baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch fine sea salt
50g ground almonds
1½ tablespoons freeze dried cherry powder (I get mine for Healthy Supplies)
110g milk
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
50g unsalted butter - softened
150g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon natural cherry flavouring (optional) - source : Lakeland
a little red food colouring

approx 200g cherry jam

Cherry-Almond Marzipan
225g ground almonds
225g icing sugar
2 tablespoons freeze dried cherry powder
¾ teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg (or 1½ to 2 large egg whites)

GF sprinkles to decorate (optional)

Method

Sponge :
  1. Either use a multi-size cake tin (divide into 4 equal width strips with dividers), a Battenberg tin or free-wheel by preparing a 1x 9 inch/23 cm square loose-bottomed cake tin. Base-line your tin/divided areas with baking paper. If making your own dividers, cut a thick piece of card to snuggly fit across the centre of the tin and cover the card with foil, followed by a layer of baking paper. Divide the tin in half with the covered card, so that it is split into 2 oblongs. 
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  3. Unless you plan to bake each cake separately, you will need to make the two cake batters in tandem, therefore weigh each set of ingredients separately into two separate sets of bowls as you go.
  4. Weigh and mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum, salt, almonds and either cocoa or cherry powder for each mix, making sure any lumps are broken down. Set aside.
  5. In each of two jugs, measure the milk and mix with the vinegar. Stir and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cream the butter with the sugar in two large bowls (for each cake batter) until pale and fluffy.
  7. Add the eggs for each mix one at a time and beat until well blended.
  8. Add the vanilla extract to one bowl for the chocolate mix and beat to combine with the butter-paste.
  9. Add the cherry flavouring and a little red food colour to the other bowl and beat to combine with the butter-paste.
  10. Starting with the chocolate mix, fold in the dry ingredients with cocoa, alternately with one of the portions of milk-vinegar mixture, about a third at a time, until all are added and JUST combined.  
  11. Now repeat the process in 10 for the cherry batter mix.
  12. Spoon the mixtures into your portioned tin - splitting between sections evenly - either 2 x cherry/2 x chocolate (Battenberg or divider tin) or 1 x cherry 1 x chocolate for home-made 2-part divided tin (to be cut in half after baking).
  13. Smooth the tops of the cake mixtures and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the top springs back to the touch. 
  14. When cooked, leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes and then carefully turn the sponges out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  15. Once cold, wrap the sponges in baking paper and cling film and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight to firm up slightly, which will make them easier to cut and shape.
Marzipan :
  1. Weigh the almonds into a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar, stirring to fully combine.
  2. Add the cherry powder, almond extract and egg and stir with a flat knife to bring together until the mixture forms a dough. 
  3. Knead the dough until smooth. Form into a ball and wrap in cling film until ready to use. If you chill, make sure you remove to come to room temperature before using.
Putting the cake together :
  1. Carefully trim the edges of each sponge. (If you only have 2 cakes - 1 cherry and 1 chocolate, cut each oblong in half lengthways, as evenly as you can). Measure each piece alongside the others and trim slightly to even up as necessary, so that each strip is as uniform as possible. (You get to eat the trimmings!). You should now have four even strips of cake - two cherry and two chocolate.
  2. Heat the cherry jam in a small saucepan over a low heat, or microwave on medium until warm and liquid.
  3. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside sides of the sponge lengthways (piece by piece), sticking together in a chequer-board pattern : cherry and chocolate next to each other on the bottom layer, followed by chocolate and cherry (opposite sides) on a second layer. 
  4. Roll out the marzipan onto some baking paper (to prevent it sticking), so that you have a large rectangle that will wrap around the whole of the cake.
  5. Brush some jam onto a middle strip of the marzipan and carefully place the sponge on top of the jam (using a spatula or palette knife to help support the sponge when moving).
  6. Brush the remaining long sides of the sponge with jam and carefully fold the marzipan up over the sponge, keeping it as tight as possible to the cake sides and sticking to the jam.
  7. Trim the marzipan to make a neat join and gently smooth together with your finger. Trim any excess marzipan at each end.
  8. Turn the cake over so that the join is hidden on the underside.
  9. Use any off-cuts of marzipan to make decorative marzipan shapes (I made hearts using a cutter) or decorate the cake as you wish. Use a tiny bit of jam or some edible glue to stick the marzipan hearts or other decorations to the cake.
  10. Chill the cake for about an hour, before cutting a thin slice off each end with a sharp knife to tidy up. 
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

43 comments:

  1. Wow that is so beautiful - I really love the colour of the marzipan - I have made it at home a few times but never even thought I could colour it. Now of course I really want to. I have made vegan marzipan before with rice malt syrup and it was easy but I did it in chunks rather than rolling it out. Must try it - which is less intimidating than making battenburg cake - I am in admiration!

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    1. Thanks Johanna. The cake really wasn't that hard.... just a little time-consuming! I was really thrilled with the colour though.... especially since it was completely natural. The possibilities are now endless, having discovered the versatility of the fruit powder.

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  2. Omg! You are a genius. This looks and sounds incredible!

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    1. I've shared but couldn't tag you!

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    2. Thanks Vicki.... for your kind comment and for the share. Really appreciate it x

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  3. You should open up a patisserie! This is simply gorgeous and gluten free too.. wow!

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  4. I didn't know this cake, it looks just gorgeous and, despite the heat outside, I would gladly swap a slice of this cake for a glass of cooling lemonade that's in front of me right now. Thank you for bringing it to #CookBlogShare:)

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    1. Goodness.... I sometimes forget I live in my own little bubble..... Battenberg was so popular when I was a child, that I sort of expected everyone to have heard of it! How very thoughtless of me!
      Either way, thank you..... I think it would go rather well with a glass of lemonade.... Why not have both?!

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  5. You had me at marzipan! How wonderful it has the combinations of chocolate and cherry as well. This is just perfect!

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    1. Ha! Thanks Ness. Chocolate & Cherry is a bit of a classic isn't it?! x

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  6. Yum yum and once again yum! Looks superb and I like the zing of freeze dried cherries.
    Can't wait to try it:)
    Mainy
    #brillogposts

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    1. Thank you for popping over and leaving such a lovely comment. If you do make it, let me know how you get on. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did x

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  7. Gorgeous - just gorgeous...and I bet it tastes wonderful too!! My daughter, especially would just love the colours in this cake (she is 8 and very pink and purple...preferably with glitter and unicorns!!) Eb x

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    1. Thanks Eb. There is something rather endearing about link cake! And yes.... It was a lovely spin on an old classic x

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  8. What an amazing labor of love! I would be so excited to taste this cake!

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment! ! It was time-consuming to make for sure, although really not that tricky. But worth every bite! x

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  9. This is SO SO beautiful, clever lady! I need to make a me safe version! x

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    1. Thanks Midge. If anyone can veganise it, you can! xx

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  10. This looks fantastic! What a great centrepiece! Now to see if I can switch out the milk and butter, make a few adjustments with soy, and produce a dairy free version that's just as beautiful...

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    1. Thank you Andy! I reckon it would be pretty easy to switch out the dairy! If you do try it, let me know how you get on. x

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  11. Absolutely beautiful. I'm so glad you brought this along to Fiesta Friday

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    1. Thank you Lindy. It would have been mean to keep it all to myself! Thanks for popping over and for your lovely comment x

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  12. This is absolutely stunning! I love the chocolate/cherry combo. I've never had or made a Battenberg cake, but I've long admired them!

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    1. Thanks you for your lovely comment. They really aren't that difficult to make.... you just need time! x

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  13. Kate, This is a true stunner. I am just admiring its colour and I have no doubt the cherry flavouring makes it delicious too.

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    1. Thanks Shaheen. The colour was rather lovely.... more so for being natural x

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  14. Stunning cake Kate! I love the vibrant colours of the cherry cake, this looks like a perfect battenburg cake! Thank you for sharing with CookBlogShare x

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  15. WOW it looks so striking and professional. Adore the sound of the flavour combo and it looks so moist and tender. Amazing. I want a slice now. Just wow!

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    1. Thanks so much Katie. The flavour combo is definitely a winner! Hope you are well x

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  16. Wow! It's absolutely perfectly neat and so incredibly inviting. I love that you've changed up the flavour combo, but i can imagine that it works just as well (if not better) than the classic. Battenberg is a bit of a weakness of mine (ie I just love the stuff!), but I have to admit that I'm yet to attempt a homemade one. When I do I'll be more than happy if it comes out anywhere as good as this! Fab bake.
    Angela xx

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    1. Thanks Angela. It was definitely neater than the last one I made!
      Battenberg is a bit of a weakness for me too.... Something about the combination of textures and richness of the marzipan I think. You should have a go at making one though..... way better than shop-bought and not that difficult! x

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  17. oh my goodness me , this cake is just glorious. look at the colours - my youngest would adore it win its colour alone! I would adore the flavour (cherry and almond = mmmm!) as I love a battenburg cake. I have always wanted to make one but always thought it might be too tricky and a faff. BUT seeing this does make me want to giver it a go. thanks for linking up to #Bakeoftheweek x

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    1. Well thank you Jenny! You must try making one. They are not that tricky! x

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  18. Wow, that is such a pretty cake! It is like a work of art :D

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    1. Thank you Rebecca. What a lovely comment xx

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  19. This is so pretty Kate and it looks perfect too. I've only made a battenberg once - a matcha and chocolate one which was delicious but I'm not very good at anything fiddly and whilst it looked OK, it didn't have the best finish ever. But I do agree homemade marzipan is essential for this cake - it's so much nicer than the shop bought stuff and not nearly as sweet. Love the flavours you've used here too. Thanks for sharing with #WeShouldCocoa.

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    1. Thanks Choclette. You're welcome.
      Love the sound of a matcha battenberg.... I bet that was lovely! x

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  20. Stunning! So pretty and so neat, I love the purple colours too.

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Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a message about any aspect of this post. It's always great to get feedback!