So I feel like this could be the most ridiculous post ever, simply because there is so much to tell about! I got to break in the new kitchen with this awesome challenge recipe, we went to California for our honeymoon/anniversary trip. We got to do a wine tasting in this castle. Really. Probably the coolest thing we did on our trip! If you are ever in the Calistoga area, make sure you check out Castello di Amorosa.
We also checked out the sights of San Francisco and brought home enough wine that we won't need to buy more for quite a while. It was a really fantastic trip, I'm so glad we waited for a year to do our honeymoon and took a big trip! Then we came home to boxes to unpack. Every day the house looks more and more like people actually live here.
I feel like I'm always coming in under the wire on these challenges and making excuses for why the pictures suck and everything looks rushed. I think I just need to finally admit that I'm a procrastinator. These cakes were inspired by the Royal Jubilee, but I made mine with another anniversary in mind. One year ago I married the love of my life (insert sappy "aww" here) with my very best friends by my side. It was a really beautiful day and a year later I am still incredibly happy.
A traditional Battenberg is almond flavored with a marzipan covering and has pink and yellow squares. I'm a little wary of marzipan and wanted to try something a little different. In searching for different recipes I found a chocolate version and was immediately interested. As I've said before, when given the option to do a non-traditional recipe that involves chocolate, you add the chocolate! The chocolate plastique instead of the marzipan was just the... uh, icing on the cake?
Dark Chocolate Plastique/Modelling Chocolate
200 gm/7oz good quality Dark Chocolate
¼ cup light corn syrup
1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, stir occasionally.
2. Once completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
3. Stir in corn syrup, it will seize up almost immediately, just keep stirring until mixed and it comes away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Transfer chocolate into a sealable bag, spread the chocolate out and then seal the bag.
5. Leave overnight or refrigerate for about 2 hours until completely firm.
6. Turn out from the bag and knead on a surface dusted with powdered sugar (or a silpat), at first it will just break, but as you knead, it will warm up and start to become pliable.
7. Knead until it's pliable enough to mould, 5-10 minutes. When ready to use, roll out on silpat to a 10x13 rectangle then use to cover the assembled cake.
Chocolate Battenberg (adapted from Jamie Oliver Magazine)
3 sticks butter, plus extra for greasing
1¾ cups granulated sugar
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
2¼ cups self-rising flour
⅓ cup ground almonds
⅓ cup cocoa
1 recipe chocolate plastique (above)
1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and grease 2 small loaf tins.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until combined. Fold in the flour.
3. Divide the batter evenly into two bowls. In one bowl, fold in the vanilla and one tablespoon of the milk. In the other fold in the almonds, cocoa and remaining tablespoon of milk.
4. Spoon batter into each of the tins. Bake both for 30-40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack.
5. To assemble, warm the jam. Level off the tops and sides of the cakes with a knife so each cake is a rectangle and the same size. Cut in half lengthways so you have two long strips of each.
6. Join the 4 cake strips with the jam between the layers so that you have a checkerboard pattern. Trim any uneven sides. Wrap with the chocolate plastique.