CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post from Nicola Cappin of Sunningdale Cakes.
The Americans have their cupcakes, the French their macarons, but the British are just plain bonkers for Battenberg.
Batten-what?! You ask? Battenberg is a tea time treat that like many other British cakes has risen in popularity in recent months.
In the past couple of years the country has gone positively baking mad, thanks in part to a reality tv show called The Great British Bake Off, in which some of the country’s top amateur bakers battle it off baking traditional English goods such as the pink and yellow chequered cake called Battenberg.
The whole concept of anything British has become much more popular over here in the UK in the last two years. Unlike the Americans and French, our national pride has never been particularly strong. But throw in a Royal Wedding, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and a rather spectacular summer of Olympics and Paralympics and we are suddenly all very proud to be British again!
Ask any Briton over the age of about 70 what tea time is, and they will probably tell you its when they sit down at 4pm to a cup of tea (emphasis on the cup, not a mug) and a slice of cake and a biscuit.
The original custom is generally believed to be credited to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 19th century, who needed something to stave off the afternoon hunger pangs between lunch and supper.
Queen Victoria favoured a slice of sponge with her afternoon cup of tea. And so, the Victoria Sponge was name. It’s still one of the most popular baked goods here and its a relatively simple two layer sponge, sandwiched with lashings of whipped double cream and raspberry jam and topped with a dusting of icing sugar
If you want to try your hand at it - check out this BBC Good Food recipe.
But, Battenberg is one of my favourites to go with my afternoon cup of tea. The rectangular cake is made up of strips of almond sponge - some tinted with pink food colouring in a chequered pattern, sandwiched together with apricot jam and wrapped in marzipan. Here's an interesting history of it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we love our cupcakes to here also! The American-style Hummingbird Bakery has sent most of us positively crazy about these little sponge cakes with the beautiful enticing store and their cookbooks.
Here at Sunningdale Cakes, the business I set up, we are constantly in demand for cupcakes. So this week I though I would look outside the box (excuse the pun) and create a Battenberg cupcake.
Nicola Cappin is the owner of Sunningdale Cakes, based in Hertfordshire in the UK.
Sunningdale Cakes Battenberg Cupcakes
Note: This is not formatted as an American-style recipe; if you need conversions, this site is handy.
Makes 8 cupcakes
- 175g butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 140g self raising flour
- 50g ground almonds
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- Pink food colouring
- 70g butter
- 350g icing sugar
- A couple of tablespoons of milk
- ½ tsp of almond extract or more to taste
- Preheat the over to 170 degrees C.
- Beat together butter, sugar and eggs until mixture appears light and creamy.
- Mix in flour, ground almonds and baking powder and the vanilla.
- Split the cake mixture between two bowls. In one bowl add a drop of pink food colouring and mix in. In the other bowl, add the almond extract.
- Place the pink cake mix in a food piping bag and put to the side. Put the almondy cake mix in a separate food piping bag.
- Line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases and pipe a stripe of cream cake mix on one side of the cupcake case and a stripe of pink cake mix on the other side.
- Then repeat your piping - alternating. So that you pipe pink on top of the cream, and the other way round.
- Bake in the over for 22 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting by beating the butter, then adding the icing sugar, almond extract and milk, until you get the right consistency.
- Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with marzipan if desired.