hello, hi! how are you doing? are you enjoying this weather? can you believe that it is... summer kind of?? bernie and i have been lapping up the sun like thirsty puppies. nearly every afternoon, we pack a little bag of water, bamba or freeze-dried berries, sunscreen, books, and toys, and bring it out to a blanket on our lawn where we bask and play and listen to the sound of music. sometimes my phone doesn't get very good reception however so instead of julie andrews serenading us it becomes me squeaking out i-am-16-going-on-17-doo-doo-dee-doo-dee-doo because i don't know the words and the whole time i have to ignore the vision in my head of john mulaney doing the creepy version on SNL. it's really awful when we have to resort to me singing, i can’t wait for the future when cell phone reception is better. regardless, these pre-mosquito days are idyllic. bernie is in this painfully perfect sweet spot where she has learned not to put everything in her mouth (dirt, bugs, the cold noodles leftover in the grass from her sensory play weeks ago) and she can't yet walk or run very fast so i don't have to chase after her worried that she's going to run into the construction hole in our yard (more on that eventually…!). we can just sit contentedly on the blanket with crayons or balls for hours and i love it.
so that's what we did on my birthday last friday! nick was planting sugar beets and bernie and i spent the day outside. we blew up her new kiddie pool and tested out what it would be like to sit in it (it was still a little chilly for water) and zoomed with all of our people. we had homemade egg mcmuffins, as is tradition on my birthday, and sausagey pizza for dinner. after bernie went to bed, i zoom aperol spritz’d with rob and brian and then watched center stage. center stage is SO GOOD.
for my birthday cake this year, i decided to make a battenberg cake! 1) because it’s been a long time since the last time i made a battenberg, 2) it's fun, and 3) it's a great cake for a tiny party of three because it's small yet festive. it also lasts for a good few days so you can chip away at it without feeling the rush to gobble it up, and the fact that it has no frosting gives it this sense of snackiness which lends a tiny bit more legitimacy to the urge you'll have when you’re passing through the kitchen and just want to shave off one bite.
the cake itself is dense and delicious, with a hint of rose. as with most of my butter-based cakes, i added a little coconut oil to ensure that this cake has no choice but to be moist. you can use unrefined to add some coconut flavor, but i chose to go with refined so that it wouldn't interfere with the power couple of marzipan and rose. for the jam, i used an amazing strawberry rhubarb kumquat situation that my aunt gifted me from sqirl. design wise, my laziness to fully knead the food coloring into the marzipan made it look like my tie dye sweats that i wear every day so i just went with it! then i cut out marzipan "stickers" using tiny cookie cutters and smooshed them right on.
my biggest battenberg tips are: roll the marzipan out on a silicone mat! you don’t get the scrunchy lines in it like you would if it was on parchment and you don't get it messy with powdered sugar (which is fine for the interior surface of the marzipan but on the outside it’s not a great look). also, let the cakes cool completely before trimming them so you can get the cleanest edges, and use a very sharp knife (i’ve been loving this knife for this). once the cakes are trimmed, you can definitely stick them in the freezer, wrapped in plastic, for up to a few weeks until you're ready to decorate (or up to a few months if you also wrap in foil). once you decorate, let the cake come to room temp before serving!
happy battenberg-ing, everyone!
Makes 1 loaf cake
2 2/3 c (347g) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 c (240g) heavy cream
1/4 c (60g) sour cream
3/4 c (169g) unsalted butter, softened
6 tb (75g) refined coconut oil
1 1/2 c (300g) sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp rosewater
3 tb (36g) rainbow sprinkles (classic cylinders are ideal, not nonpareils)
Pink food coloring
14 oz marzipan, plus more for decorations as desired
Powdered sugar, for dusting
6 tb (120g) jam
preheat the oven to 350ºf. turn an 8” square baking pan into a battenberg pan: first, fold a long piece of foil onto itself a couple of times to a create a foil barrier to divide your pan in half, making sure that the barrier is at least the height of the pan or even a little more. then spray the pan and each side of the foil with cooking spray (to help the parchment stick) and line each half of the pan with two overlapping pieces of parchment paper, one going widthwise and one going lengthwise, with enough parchment paper to come all the way up the sides and then some. get your scissors out and trim the parchment so that it lays nicely and doesn’t curl around the corners and make you go crazy. sorry, i know this is a lot of parchment paper (i reuse parchment all the time!). ok, set this aside.
in a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder, and then lightly stir in the salt and set aside. in a large measuring cup, whisk together the heavy cream and sour cream and set aside.
in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream together the butter, coconut oil, and sugar on medium high for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each and periodically scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. add the vanilla and rosewater and mix to combine. reduce the mixer to medium low and add the dry mixture and cream mixture in 3 alternating additions, mixing until 80% combined. divide the mixture in half. in the first half, fold in the sprinkles as you mix until the batter is combined. pour into one side of the pan and use a small offset spatula or a spoon to carefully spread it out evenly. in the second half of the batter, add a few drops of pink food coloring and fold it in as you mix until the batter is combined. pour into the other side of the pan and use a small offset spatula or a spoon to carefully spread it out evenly. bake until the tops of the cakes are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs on it; begin checking for doneness at 45 minutes. let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then use the parchment wings to left them out of the pans and onto a wire rack to cool completely.
once the cakes are cooled, level them and trim off the sides if they're uneven. cut into 4 equal rectangles that are as wide as they are thick (measure the thickness of the cake once it’s leveled and then turn your ruler 90º to measure that same amount on top of the cake and score with an accordion pastry cutter). enjoy a bite of cake scraps and set these aside.
knead the marzipan with food coloring to get your desired color, dusting with powdered sugar if it gets too sticky. on a silicone mat (or a big piece of parchment or a counter dusted with powdered sugar, but i strongly recommend a silicone mat so that you don't get powdered sugar all over what will eventually become the outside surface of the marzipan) roll the marzipan out into a rectangle that's about 7 1/2” wide by about 13” long, dusting the top with powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. trim the edges so they’re straight. brush all over with a thin layer of jam and place a rectangle of pink cake at one end. brush the exposed surfaces with a thin layer of jam. squish a rectangle of sprinkle cake right next to it and brush the exposed surfaces with a layer of jam. stack the other two rectangles of cake on top, brushing with jam, to form a checkerboard pattern. carefully roll it onto its side, pressing the marzipan all over so that it sticks, and then continue to roll until the cake is covered. trim off any excess marzipan, wrap in firmly plastic wrap and let set in the fridge for a couple of hours. decorated with additional marzipan decorations and sprinkles as desired. let come to room temperature and enjoy!
this cake will last at room temperature, wrapped in plastic or in an airtight container for up to 5 days.Print this recipe