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Battenberg Cake

by Bryony Harrison (follow)
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Cakes (149)      Cherries (27)      Battenberg (1)     

Despite the name, the battenberg cake is an English recipe. It was invented by one of Queen Victoria's chefs to celebrate the marriage between her daughter Princess Vicky, and Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884.

My first memory of battenberg cakes are the Mr. Kipling's ones my grandma used to buy for me when I visited her at the weekend. The bright colours were always so appealing. The one thing I was never keen on though was the the marzipan; I found it too sweet. which is why for this recipe, I made almond paste, which is the first part of the process for making marzipan, but uses less sugar and no eggs. As I made it for my mum's birthday, I also added some cherries for decoration. Based on the brands I used, each slice is about 317 calories.

Preparation Time: 50 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 12 servings

300g Xylitol sweetener (or caster sugar if you prefer)
125g icing sugar
250g ground almonds
125ml water
175g self-raising flour
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp pink food colouring
1/2 tsp strawberry flavouring
6 tbsp apricot jam
6 glace cherries

Pre-heat the oven to 190 ༠C/ 170 ༠C fan/375 ༠F/5 Gas.
Dissolve 125g sweetener/caster sugar in 125ml boiling water to create a syrup.
Mix the icing sugar, ground almonds, and almond extract together, then pour in the syrup to form the almond paste.
Put the almond paste in the fridge to chill.
Beat the eggs with the remaining sweetener/caster sugar, then beat in the flour.
Divide the cake mixture into two bowls. In one bowl add the vanilla extract, and in the other mix in the strawberry flavouring and pink food colouring.
Put the mixtures in two loaf tins and bake in the oven.
Cut both cakes length ways scraping off the tops and sides for an even finish.
Glue the two opposing colours together (two next to each other, and two on top to form a chequered square) with the apricot jam.
Cover the cake in the almond paste, then decorate the top with glace cherries.

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