Fancy cakes at the racetrack

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ahh, Friday night. Time to veg out in front of the telly (um, what’s with the SBS docos on a Friday night? Not that I’m watching them, really!).

Speaking of the telly, the inspiration for this cake project came after an episode of Top Gear. I know it’s not the most environmentally friendly show around, and I actually don’t know much about cars – ask me what type of vehicle someone drives and I’ll probably answer “a (insert appropriate colour here) one”. But I love the comedy of it, and the chemistry between the presenters. Plus I think the Hamster is really cute.

Anyway, there was this episode see, and the guys had gathered a whole bunch of UK celebs, many of whom I did not recognise, to test drive some cars. Then I spotted a celeb I recognised, it was Bill Bailey, swanning around offering cake to all and sundry. Ooh, look at that cake, so pretty in pink and yellow. The rest of the episode went by in a blur as I researched Battenberg cakes instead.

From naught to cakey (oh, come on, smile at least!) in less than two minutes – here’s the recipe I found. It’s really simple, basically it’s a two toned cake, coated in jam, then sliced into equal rectangles, which are then reassembled to form a grid pattern, and the whole thing is wrapped in marzipan. Ok, maybe it sounds complicated in writing, but I’ve included some pictures below.

To add oomph, I added grated lemon rind to the yellow part of the cake, and a couple of tablespoons of strawberry pulp to the pink part. Note to self – fruit puree looks brownish when baked, luckily I’d added a couple of drops of red food colouring as well.

 I also made a simple microwave jam using about 250g strawberries. First I washed, hulled and chopped the berries, then popped them in the microwave to heat up and become soft. Then, I smooshed them through a sieve and to the resulting “pulp”, I added 2/3 cup caster sugar and 1 tbsp of lemon juice.  I then popped this back into the microwave, and cooked on high heat, stopping to stir about every 50 seconds or so. Warning: use a large container or you may open the microwave door to find jam overflowing onto the turntable.

I’d even though about making marzipan but read that home-made marzipan could be sticky to roll out, so store-bought it was.

Battenberg cake in production : 

 Excuse bad night time photos - the two different colours are meant to be baked in the same tin to ensure even height (I think). I folded a piece of aluminium foil into a sort of "T" shape, with the top of the "T" lining the base, and the leg of the "T" standing up in the middle as you can see here.

The two cakes : strawberry on left, lemon on right

Trim the cakes into equal widths and lengths. They are meant to be a bit more square than this. Stick them together using some jam - apricot is the usual flavour used.

Brush jam all over the cake. Roll out the marzipan thinly, then wrap the cake in it, like a present. Position seam side down. It will now look like a boring off-white rectangle

Ah but wait - start slicing and prettiness appears. And that is the appeal of the Battenberg cake.

The end result brought smiles all around, it tasted sweet, fruity and zingy, and best of all, even the usually cake-averse Mr. Kitchen Hand enjoyed it!  Perhaps it might have even made The Stig smile if he’d eaten a slice, but we’ll never know.

Have a fantastic weekend, may it be filled with smiles ☺

Speaking of smiles, I hope Kristy Sayer and Kate_Powe will be smiling when they receive some choc biccie samples. Their names were picked by my random number generators otherwise known as MC Senior and MC Junior.


3 hungry tummies said...

Very pretty indeed! Only I live closer I would have invited myself over for a slice of that :)

cikmanggis said...

ohh cantiknya...nak cuba juga :)...

Jennifurla said...

OH how striking and pretty

Cocina Savant said...

You make this cake sound much easier than I am sure it is. The lemon and strawberry cakes with strawberry jam sounds delicious to me. Well done.

Julia @Mélanger said...

So cute. I love checkerboard cakes!!

Trissa said...

I've always wondered how the checkerboard cakes were done! You're right - they are so cute and how wonderful it must be to slice it and see the lovely checkered insides! Have a great weekend too Shaz!

Aparna said...

YOu know, this is one more cake I must bake. Its so pretty. My list of "to bake" is so long now. :)

grace said...

this is an absolutely delightful cake. the merging of flavors is one thing, but the lovely checkerboard effect is quite another! bravo!

Jeannie said...

Beautifully done! neat and it!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Lovely cake, Shaz!!

shaz said...

3 hungry tummies - you will always be welcome :)

cikmanggis - ya, cubalah makcik. cantik kek ni kan?

Jennifurla - thank you :)

Cocina Savant - aw thanks. I think the hardest part was to try and get edges on the finished cake.

Julia @Mélanger - thank you!

Trissa - thank you dear

Aparna - I know what you mean, I started keeping a list but gave up when it got too long, now I bake whatever takes my fancy at the time, much more rewarding :)

Grace - shucks, thank you

Jeannie - not too sure about the precise part , he he

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - thanks!

Jamie said...

Shaz, you are so cute! I love the story of how you came upon the idea to make this cake. And it is really pretty! A perfect tea time cake.

Lisa said...

OMG. this cake is beautiful, and such delicate flavors. Marzipan, strawberry and lemon screams 'tea party!'.I have to try this, such a clever way to turn out a gorgeous cake.

JT @ said...

Nought to cakey - I like it. I appreciate your food puns!

Barbara Bakes said...

I've seen the round checkerboard cakes that use a special pan, but I love this idea and not having to buy a new pan. It looks scrumptious.

Sue said...

This cake looks amazing and sounds delicious!

shaz said...

Jamie - never know when inspiration strikes :)

Lisa - thank you!

JT @ - glad to see someone with good taste :)

Barbara Bakes - I liked that I didin't need a special pan either

Sue - thank you :)