By Jo Cooksey
With Bake Off back on the telebox, my baking interest has been once again been piqued. So, imagine my delight when I was asked to create my very own showstopper cake by Forever Manchester
Forever Manchester, is a charity that raises money to fund and support community activity across Greater Manchester. They help local people do extraordinary things together. They fund and support a huge range of activities that help young people, older people and disabled people, as well as homelessness, sports, environmental, education and cancer support projects, plus everything in between. They work with local communities to inspire and encourage projects that they want to see, to make their neighbourhoods happier, healthier and safer places to be. This is Charity… The Mancunian Way.
Once I had agreed to take part the charity sent me a mystery ingredient to include in my bake. I was really excited when my box arrived. What would it be? It turned out to be sachets of Teapigs premium matcha or green tea. I have seen matcha included in lots of recipes over the last few months, so it was time to hit the internet and cookery books. There were matcha cupcakes and biscuits galore but I was looking for something ‘different’. In the end, I decided to combine a classic English (or German if you’re being picky) cakey favourite, with the Japanese flavours of matcha and yuzu and bake a…Battenberg. I thought the green of the tea would make a nice contrast with the pale vanilla sponge and marzipan. I substituted the almonds flavours of this BBC Good Food recipe with the matcha. I wanted to substitute the apricot jam for a yuzu jam but the only jar I could find online, with postage, came to £15. Gulp! Instead I used Rose’s Lime Marmalade which gave a similar zesty tang for a tenth of the price.
I have never made a Battenberg before but I was really chuffed with how it turned out, even though there was a ruler and a lot of measuring involved, as well as a pile of cake trimmings left over at the end. Those went in to a trifle, so it was all good. Why not give the recipe a go yourself? Even better, why not join in with Caketober and help them raise some money? Here’s the link: http://www.caketober.com/how-to-take-part/
175g very soft butter 175g golden caster sugar 140g self-raising flour 8 sachets of Tea Pigs Matcha ½ tsp baking powder 3 medium eggs
175g very soft butter 175g golden caster sugar 140g self-raising flour ½ tsp baking powder 3 medium eggs 1tsp vanilla extract or one vanilla pod, remove the seeds to use in the cake batter
200g Rose’s Lime Marmalade 1 x 475g blocks white marzipan
1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line the base and sides of a 20cm square tin with baking parchment. To make the matcha sponge, put the butter, sugar, flour, matcha, baking powder and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with an electric whisk until the mix comes together smoothly. Scrape into the tin, spreading to the corners, and bake for 25-30 mins – when you poke in a skewer, it should come out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling while you make the second sponge.
2. For the vanilla sponge, line the tin as above. Mix all the ingredients together as above, but don’t add any matcha. Then scrape it all into the tin and bake as before. Cool.
3. To assemble, heat the marmalade in a small pan until softer, (it won’t go runny like jam), then sieve. Barely trim two opposite edges from the matcha sponge, then well trim a third edge. Roughly measure the height of the sponge, then cutting from the well-trimmed edge, use a ruler to help you cut 4 slices each the same width as the sponge height. Discard or nibble leftover sponge. Repeat with vanilla cake.
4. Take 2 x matcha slices and 2 x vanilla slices and trim so they are all the same length and width. Roll out the marzipan block on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to just over 20cm wide, then keep rolling lengthways until the marzipan is roughly 0.5cm thick. Brush with lime marmalade, then lay a vanilla and a matcha slice side by side at one end of the marzipan, brushing marmalade in between to stick sponges, and leaving 4cm clear marzipan at the end. Brush more maramalade on top of the sponges, then sandwich remaining 2 slices on top, alternating colours to give a checkerboard effect. Trim the marzipan to the length of the cakes.
5. Carefully lift up the marzipan and smooth over the cake with your hands, but leave a small marzipan fold along the bottom edge before you stick it to the first side. Trim opposite side to match size of fold, then crimp edges using fingers and thumb (or, more simply, press with prongs of fork). If you like, mark the 10 slices using the prongs of a fork.
6. Assemble a second Battenberg and keep in an airtight box or well wrapped in cling film for up to 3 days. Can be frozen for up to a month.