We’re celebrating Christmas with our Wilton friends all over the globe! In our Christmas Around the World Series, a guest contributor will share their favorite Christmas recipe and story with you. Today’s story comes from Dan Tucker in the United Kingdom.
Each year in my family, I bake Christmas style Battenburg Cakes to cater to all my family’s tastes (namely, my fussy brothers). Over the years I have altered and perfected my grandma’s teachings of how to make this cake. This summer during a picnic conversation my nephew (age 5) set a challenge to make it “more Christmasy” because it was “boring” (fresh out of the mouths of babes). So I bounced the challenge back to him and told him to come up with a design and I would help him put it together and it must have all the elements of Battenburg. He drew his design, highlighting he wanted a Giant Santa Sleigh that looked like candy canes and must have loads of edible presents. In autumn, he came over for a test bake as I insisted he had to help with the-not-so “boring” baking.
Santa’s Easy Layer Battenburg Sleigh
350 grams Unsalted Butter
350 grams Golden Caster Sugar (regular sugar is OK if you cannot get golden), plus a little extra for coating
280 grams Self Raising Flour
100 grams Ground Almonds
6 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 Teaspoon Wilton Almond Flavouring
1kg White or Red Marzipan
Wilton Red Gel Paste
Wilton White White Colouring
Wilton Easy Layer Loaf Pans or Two 10 x 16 inch Swiss Roll Pans/Baking Tray
Additional marzipan or Fondant for decorating
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, ground almonds, vanilla and almond flavour into a stand mixer and mix slowly until well combined.
Divide the batter equally into 2 bowls.
Divide your red mix equally between your 4 Easy Layer Pans, spread evenly and bake in the center of the oven for about 17-20 minutes. Cool in the pan for ten minutes, and turn them out onto a wire rack to cool fully. Repeat the above with your White White mix.
If using a Swiss Roll Pan, spread each mix evenly into baking tins and bake in the center of the oven for about 17-20 minutes. Cool in the pan for ten minutes, and turn them out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
To assemble, trim off any crusty edges to expose the cake’s colour. If using a Swiss Roll Tin cut each cake into 10 x 4 inch rectangles. You should now have 4 red and 4 white rectangles.
Warm the apricot jam in a saucepan or microwave and press through a fine sieve to remove any fruit chunks.
Colour your marzipan with Wilton Red and then Roll out 800g of the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar or a Wilton Roll n Cut Mat into a rectangle about 12 x 16 inch around 5 mm thick (my brothers would say thicker); big enough to wrap around the cake.
Brush the marzipan with the apricot jam, then start to layer your sleigh, brushing jam between each alternating layer and all sides of the sponges (don’t scrimp on the jam it’s the best bit!).
Bring the marzipan up and around the cake or use your roll n cut mat to wrap around, press the edges together to make a firm join and shape and smooth further if required with Wilton Fondant Smoothers.
Fold over any excess marzipan to cover the exposed end, then gently rub all marzipan sides with regular caster sugar (snow on the sleigh), gently pinch the corner edges to crimp. Make a diagonal slice about 1.5 inches into cake as pictured and position to create a sleigh. Use the reserved red marzipan to cover the exposed seating area. Using additional marzipan or Wilton fondant create presents and decorate your sleigh however you wish. A great activity for children but us big kids can get really creative too!
If you want to make a traditional looking Battenberg check out last year’s blog here for the how-to.