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Monday, 4 June 2012

Espresso and Vanilla Battenberg Cake

I decided to make this cake to take along to afternoon tea with friends today.  It is a little bit more faff than I usually tolerate when baking but worth it as it looks, and more importantly tastes, delicious.  Give it a go - but make sure you have a bit of time on your hands when you attempt it.

There's a really good tutorial here on The Pink Whisk blog which will show you how to make, and asemble, the cake with step by step photos.

It is also part of my collection of posts for the Coffee, Set, Match Challenge being run by Wimbledon sponsors Lavazza.  I am in the Quarter Finals (YAY!!!) so thought I had better bake something a bit special.

100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 medium free-range eggs
100g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
1tsp vanilla extract
1 Tblsp espresso, cooled
25g shelled walnuts, finely chopped

For the coffee buttercream:

100g icing sugar
40g butter, softened
2 tsp espresso, cooled

For decoration:

225g white marzipan or sugarpaste
small walnut pieces

Preheat your oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm/8in square cake tin.

I used foil backed baking parchment from Lakeland but you could use non-stick baking paper to separate the tin into 2 sections.  Cut out a piece of baking paper that is 7.5cm/3 inches longer than the tin.  Fold it in half widthways. Open out the paper and push up the centre fold to make a 4cm/1½ inch peak.  Line the base of the tin with the baking paper, making sure the peak runs down the middle of the tin.  You should now have two rectangular sections within the square tin.

Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and ground almonds together in a large bowl for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth and glossy looking. 

Spoon slightly more than half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and 1½ teaspoons of milk. 

Mix the cooled espresso into the remaining mixture along with the finely chopped walnuts. Spoon the vanilla mixture into one half of the tin and the coffee and walnut mixture into the other half.  Carefully level the top of the mixture so the surface is level.  Make sure the baking paper divide is still straight in the middle of the tin.  

Bake the mixture in your preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is well risen, has shrunk back slightly from the sides of the tin, and a skewer inserted into the centre of each section comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin for a 10 minutes, then turn it out of the tin and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.

To make the buttercream:

Put the icing sugar, butter and cooled espresso into a bowl. Beat everything together until the mixture is soft and smooth. 

Assembling the cake:

Trim the cakes so you have 2 strips of each, 4 strips in total that are exactly the same size. Lay one vanilla and one coffee-walnut strip next to each other, then use some buttercream icing to stick them together. Spread a little more icing on top. Stick the other two strips together with icing and put them on top to create a chequerboard effect. Spread more buttercream icing over the outside of the assembled cake.

Lightly dust your work surface with a little icing sugar and roll out your marzipan.  Make sure you roll it out large enough to cover the cake.   Cover the cake in marzipan and neatly trim away the excess.  Trim a thin slice from each end of the cake to make sure the ends are neat.  

While the marzipan is still soft, crimp the edges by pinching the marzipan between your thumb and first finger at regular intervals along the top of each side of the cake  then top the cake with the walnut pieces.

All being well, you should end up with a delicious cake like mine:

The cake didn't last long, we devoured it with a cuppa in no time!

Remember: To be in with a chance to win one the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees, or enter the fabulous giveaway online at http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com/

Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.

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