All’s square in love and cake
Asimple sponge cake is a gateway to a world of fun. Novelty cakes are 10 a penny these days, but in times past it took a grand event such as a royal wedding to create a conceptual celebration cake such as the classic Battenberg cake – the four squares representing four princes. Loved by many, it still reigns supreme along the aisle of your local shop. You can’t miss its cheerful chequerboard markings and Neapolitan colouring. It is equally loathed by millions ( perhaps they don’t like marzipan).
If you have a bit of time, this is the ultimate home- made cake to present for afternoon tea. The predominant apricot and almond flavours are cosy companions. The apricot jam is the “glue” holding the cake pieces together ( less traditional, but raspberry jam could also be used). The almond paste ( marzipan) envelops the cake. It is intensely sweet, so to soften the sugar rush I recommend rolling out the marzipan thinly. Another tip is to keep your marzipan chilled as it can become sticky and difficult to roll out if handled too much.
If you have a budding engineer in your house, they will enjoy the construction phase, building the two- by- two blocks of sponge to create the signature chequerboard pattern. A square cake tin with a paper divider in the middle enables you to bake both coloured sponges together. After that it is not overly complicated. Some sponge trimmings will be left over and these can either be frozen and used in trifle or rolled up with any remaining marzipan and dipped in chocolate to make cake pops. When using food colouring, buy paste or gel colourings as they do not fade when baked.