Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Battenberg…with a difference

So this month’s Daring Bakers challenge is….Battenberg cake.

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

Battenburg- the classic chequered sponge cake, sandwiched together with jam and all wrapped up in a marzipan jacket!

Marzipan is a tricky one, the traditional version is full of powdered sugar and although it's generally vegan I still have difficulty in endorsing such a sugary treat here on my blog! I have been trying to suss out a sugar free marzipan for quite some time now, with some degree of success here in my Christmas Stollen and my the toppings for the super-cute Christmas puds. But when it comes to a rollable marzipan I have not yet had a breakthrough!

However this challenge allowed us to push the boundaries beyond a traditional Battenberg as long as we held true to the chequered sponge concept with a sweet covering whether it be marzipan, fondant or chocolate. So, one idea came to my mind straight away….

….the ‘world’s healthiest chocolate fudge’!

I had tried rolling the fudge dough previously to make these hearts and it worked really well, so I figured it could also work really well as the Battenberg covering.  That then just left the sponge and the flavours to choose. I opted for a plain vanilla sponge alongside a raspberry sponge (although it has taken on more of a brown tinge in the photos), that allowed me to use sugar-free raspberry jam as the sole sweetener in the raspberry sponge.  I opted to try my ‘easiest ever gluten free sponge’ recipe as the basis for this cake as i really wanted to go gluten free for this recipe.

In hindsight I wish I’d gone for a different sponge recipe, as whilst that simple sponge works well as a small super-simple mug cake, it just didn’t really do it for me as larger oven baked sponge. There was nothing drastically wrong with it, I just felt it could have been a lot more delicate with a lighter crumb. I also wish now that I’d rolled the fudge wrap a little thinner before wrapping the sponge slices.

The overall concept was a great success and the chocolate fudge coating worked a treat (particularly if I’d rolled it more finely), however after eating a slice with the sponge, I got the feeling that the sponge was not doing the cake justice. So what did I decide to do?  Peel the fudge off and reform it into fudge balls of course. Mmmm…much better!

Try this frosting…go on give it a go! It is so easy to form and model that you can cut it into rounds, bars, roll it out as an icing layer or even turn it into a soft piped healthy frosting as I did here with these cupcakes.

I will give the Battenberg another go with an alternative sponge recipe at some point soon. This fudge frosting is so versatile that I want to give it a proper chance to do my Battenberg proud!

This link takes you to the original Daring Bakers Challenge notes with  plenty of alternate recipes for battenberg to try.

Recipe: Battenberg

Makes 1 approx. 7” long cake

Ingredients: chocolate fudge frosting

½  can black beans- rinsed and drained
1 mashed banana
½ cup cocoa powder (or raw cacoa powder)
1/3 cup dates
¼ cup cranberries
2 tsp vanilla extract
½  tsp cinnamon
½ tsp stevia
½ cup ground oats
2 tbs ground flax
2 tbs chia seeds


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth pliable dough is formed. The dough should be fairly tacky but not sticky and should easy to handle.

Roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment or similar for easily handling. Roll to achieve desired thickness and then, using thr parchment to assist, carefully drape across the jam coated sponge to create the finish Battenberg.

Ingredients: simple vanilla sponge

½ cup buckwheat flour (or other GF grain)
3 tbs ground almonds
½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup plain soy yoghurt (or regular)
2 tbs agave (for vanilla version)
2 tbs sugar free raspberry jam (for raspberry version)


Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then add wet ingredients (other than agave and jam) and mix together well.  

Divide the mixture between two bowls and then add the agave and jam to a bowl each.  Note: to achieve a deeper red/pink colour you may need to add a few drops of food colouring.

You will now have two different coloured/flavoured mixtures. Spoon each into a 7” square  baking tin divided down the centre with parchment paper and foil to prevent the batters mixing (foil helps make a more ridged central partition).

Bake in  pre-heated oven  at 180C for approx. 15 mins until very lightly golden.

Assembling the Battenerg

Cut the slices of sponge into neat squares and arrange in a larger square with each flavour on the diagonal. Paint each edge with slightly runny sugar-free raspberry jam and then firmly wrap the chocolate fudge frosting around the entire cake, ensuring an overlap to seal.

For tips and info on recipe measurement conversions, ingredients, substitutions and the methods behind how I do things.... check out my 'baking tips' tab at the top of the page.


  1. Your battenberg is certianly inventive! Love the sound of that fudgey coating. Looks delicious and I'm interested that its made with black beans. Have baked with them before, but never as a raw ingredient.

    Lovely blog - I'll be back :)

  2. Wow, wow, wow. A fantastic job adapting the challenge and I am intrigued by the fudgey icing. Well done!

  3. The fudge sounds so good! You definitely made it challenging for yourself. I love the sponge mug cake, too. Must try that one!

  4. Amazing job! I will definitely be giving the fudge icing a shot!

  5. Hey Katie, thank you...i love this fudge, with the bananas and other dried fruits you don't notice the beans at all!

    Hi Zodelicious, thanks for your comment...i'm glad I have everyone intrigued! ;-)

    Hello Jeanne, I'm a sucker for a challenge, and probably make life a lot harder for myself in the process. ha ha!

  6. Hey Ruth, Yay thank you, let me know how tyou get on if you do try it!

  7. Wow, what a great twist on the challenge! I definitely want to try that black bean fudge recipe - I've heard of black bean brownies but not fudge - and I love that you used it to cover the cake. Great job!

  8. Your Battenberg looks nice, I think it was a double challenge for you having to adapt the receipe for your vegan style of life. Great job!

  9. Oh I like that idea of rolling it into balls! And I agree re the sponge taste, the crumbs were large and I almost felt like they detracted from the cube look in mine.

  10. Yummmm!
    Your Battenberg cake version looks so tasty!

  11. Hi Cookie Fairy, thank you- just had a look at yours too, very pretty decorations!

  12. Yep, that fudge is definitely the star of the show!

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  14. Really great interpretation and adaptation of the challenge - I am very intrigued and super impressed. Great job.

  15. Wow! This is the healthiest and possibly the yummiest battenberg I have ever seen. You are too great. Just stop it.

  16. Hi Ruby, Ha ha, thank you! I just can't get enough of the fudging keeps popping up everywhere and i haven't finished yet! (it features in another wacky post coming soon)


Comments make me smile....go on!

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