Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan and Part 14AJune 28, 2012 at 8:02 am | Posted in Asian, Cakes, Daring Bakers, Dessert | 77 Comments
Tags: battenberg Cake, Black Sesame, Cashew Marzipan, Chocolate, Fondant, Ginger, Japanese, Matcha Powder, Modeling Chocolate, Sakura
Would you like a spot of matcha tea with your black sesame – ginger scones? By golly, I’ve done it again! I’ve taken something traditional, and went completely barmy on it! OK, I wrote a whole entry in ‘Brit’ lingo back in ’09, and I’m not going to make any of you who remember, suffer through it again.
However..I’ve taken a thoroughly British cake, called a Battenberg Cake, first created to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria, to husband Prince Louis of Battenberg, and infused it with Asian, mainly Japanese, flavors, and decorated it in kind. I know one thing for sure..as tasty and pretty as it is, it would probably shock the tickety-boos out of the Queen if it was served to her at any tea or special event.
Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last-minute to present us with the Battenburg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.
I was supposed to co-host, or shall I say sidekick this challenge with Mandy, but like a lot of promises and deadlines the past 3 months, I had to drop out (or delay). Not that I didn’t try, but, unfortunately, the humidity ghoul came stomping down on my jubilee – again. I ordered a Battenberg pan because I wanted to take the easy way out, (which I will get to in a moment), and just my luck, two tries stuck to the pan because of the stickiness in the air.
I won’t bore you with the trials and tribulations of my homemade cashew marzipan…but I will say, the humidity made it nearly impossible to roll out and wrap the cake in..so we ate it in chunks and I regretfully had to inform Mandy I wouldn’t be able to pull this one out in time. It certainly doesn’t help matters when your brain has been scattered too. Scattered brain doesn’t make for focused baking, decorating, or anything for that matter.
BUT, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. As a participant instead of co-host, I had some time to take advantage of a few clear weekend days and week nights to play with the Battenberg, and my cashew marzipan rolled out quite nicely.
As for the aforementioned Battenberg pan – when you see the challenge recipe, if you click the link below, you’ll notice that you don’t need a Battenberg pan to make this cake. A 7 to 8-inch square pan that you divide in half with parchment paper or foil works perfectly. Once the cake is baked, you slice each half in half, trimming off the uneven crusty bits to get perfect squares. Simple, right? Why spend the money on a Battenberg pan?
Well, I’m a horrible cutter/trimmer. I’m a crooked person – I always cut things crookedly. This is why I bought the pan – to make my presently off-kilter life easier. The less I have to think about something, the better.
So, now that I didn’t have to worry about anything other than slicing the top of the cakes off the pan with one quick cut, it made it easier to play, and play I did. When I was going to co-host, Mandy asked if I might want to make a matcha – black sesame version, or something off the beaten path.
Since I did something very similar with the Daring Bakers Dobos Torte (egads, horrific photos - look away!), again, back in ’09, it was an affirmative. I added 1 tablespoon of matcha powder and 2 teaspoons milk, to half the batter, and 1 cup of black sesame seeds to the other half. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
My original plan was to bind the cakes together with a sweet adzuki bean paste or an adzuki bean paste buttercream, like I did with the Dobos Torte. I changed my mind after deciding this baby needed some chocolate. I steeped some fresh ginger in hot cream, then poured it over chopped, dark chocolate, letting it set to a medium ganache, and used that instead. Definitely a great decision.
For the wrap, I colored homemade cashew marzipan red, then added dark modeling chocolate (aka chocolate plastique – included in the challenge recipes) tree branches, and tiny white fondant Japanese cherry blossoms called sakura – well, my version of them. I decided to do the blossoms and branches at the last-minute, and each blossom took for-ev-er by hand, with no tools (I got so fed up after three, I started pinching them into stars!) – so that was the most tedious part, but again, it was my decor decision, not something Mandy requested.
With that said, I’m not a fan of fondant, but there’s not a ton of tiny blossoms, so you can either eat them, or flick them into the trash if you don’t care for fondant either.
Thanks for an awesome challenge, Mandy, my dear friend! To get all the recipes for the Battenberg cake, and see a gorgeous array of step-by-step photos, not to mention two awesome Battenburg cakes Mandy made, click HERE. To see the beautiful Battenburg cakes my fellow Daring Bakers created, click on the links to their blogs, HERE.
Now to Part 14A (YES..14A) of Bad Boy First Love. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, Part Ten is HERE, Part 11 is HERE, Part 12 is HERE, Part 13A is HERE, and Part 13B is HERE.
Right before I was going to ask him how he got my number, I remembered, but he said it first..
“I got your number from Tracy”
Tracy was one of their girl friends who would come down on weekends. I liked all of their hometown girlfriends and girl friends that visited, but Tracy was my favorite. Instead of packing a suitcase or duffle bag, she would max out her credit card at Bloomies or Saks, then drive down loaded with shopping bags of great clothes, like a rich shopping bag lady.
She would pull up in her car, bright blue eyes shining, blonde hair perfectly tousled, like she barely put any thought or effort into it – her cute, little turned up nose crinkling as she struggled to grab all the bags at once before getting out of the car. Of course I’d run to help her..I was always happy to see her.
I could tell my silence made him uncomfortable..he cleared his throat then continued.
“We knew you’d probably be home packing since you’re leaving for Boston tomorrow, and Scott is having a party, so they thought it would be great idea to invite you – they want to see you, especially Tracy”
I was being a little cold. I felt bad because he was truly a nice guy, albeit a little used to getting what he wanted when it came to those of the female persuasion.
“So why didn’t Tracy call me?” I asked skeptically
He laughed awkwardly. I certainly wasn’t making this easy for him.
“Well, I kind of volunteered – I’d like to see you too”
“Gary, that’s really sweet, but you know I’m in love with Dreamboat”
His voice rose..
“No, no, no..don’t sell yourself short, I had a blast with you down the shore – we can’t be friends?”
I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting alone for 6 hours missing Dreamboat – waiting for him to call, and I was a little naive.
“OK, come get me, but bring Tracy or one of the girls with you”
I could almost hear him relax..
“Great, I just need your address, and we’ll be there in about 15 minutes”
I waited outside for them. I couldn’t help smiling when his car pulled up and Tracy was hanging out the window squealing. I hopped into the backseat and soon we were chirping away like birdies at sunrise. It was as if Gary wasn’t even there.
I hung out with the girls the whole time, but of course Gary kept popping in seeing if I needed or wanted anything – like a boyfriend. If I left the room for a second, he was soon by my side, protective – like a boyfriend. I hated it..and found ways to slither back to the fun girl room quickly. One time, I was saved by Scott..
“Tell your guy I want a rematch..it was just a bad night for me, too much pizza” he said with a wink.
Let’s go back a bit, to almost two weeks earlier;
Down the shore…the guys could never stop bragging about how Scott could guzzle a whole bottle of beer in less than a minute. Well..I happened to know for sure that Dreamboat could do it faster, so I told them that. The match was on..without Dreamboat’s knowledge.
When he came to pick me up that night after work…I meekly told him what I’d put him up to. I loved his response..a very nonchalant..
“That’s cool, let’s go do it” as he took my hand and led me toward their apartment.
They sat down at a table across from one another – Scott, so confident, he insisted some money be put down – $20 bucks, to be exact. They each placed a 20 on the table, then lifted their beers, ready to go – then 1-2-3, GO! Within 30 seconds Dreamboat slammed his bottle down. Scott was still guzzling. Animal House in full motion.
Dreamboat grabbed the two 20′s, stood up, shook Scott’s hand, said goodnight to everyone, and off we went. No smile..no bragging..no fanfare. I melted as we walked out the door – momentarily looking back to see the guys picking up his bottle, studying it, turning it over and over.. like it was a rare gem – looking for any tiny flaw, aka even a drop of beer, so they could call foul.
I knew they wouldn’t.
It’s amazing what can impress the hell out of you when you’re a teenager. I was not only madly in love with Dreamboat, I also thought he was the coolest guy on earth.
So, back at the party, the girls were getting bored by 10 pm and wanted to head out to a local club with their fake ID’s. Of course, I declined - I wanted to be home by 11 pm to do some last-minute scans through my house and bedroom, making sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, but most importantly, Dreamboat would be calling some time after midnight.
Obviously, Gary would be driving me home. He had to make a phone call first, so I plopped down on a reclining chair in front of the TV in Scott’s den. Gary pulled up a folding chair next to the recliner..at a 90 degree angle to me…facing my right arm, which I had up on the armrest. He’s still talking on the phone..so this struck me as kind of an odd move. He kept inching closer and closer, sort of leaning down towards me.
Next thing I know..he’s fiddling with my bracelet, a bracelet that Dreamboat gave me. It was almost sacrilege ..a guy that Dreamboat specifically asked to stop chasing me, is now playing with a token of Dreamboat’s love for me. I pulled my arm away. That means..I’m not interested – Strike 1.
He whispered “Sorry” and continued to talk on the phone to some guy he was selling his car to. What happened next is what I call the ‘Wet Lip’ incident, and to this day, it remains crystal clear in my memory chamber.
He had backed away, so I blew it off as phone tinkering..meaning when you inadvertently doodle on a piece of paper or pull aimlessly at a stray thread on a blanket while talking on the phone. No harm, no foul..it was all cool – or so I thought.
I relaxed again…a little tired, so I sort of zoned out..staring at a couple declaring their undying love for one another in some B list movie on television – my eyes at half-mast. Suddenly I felt his hair against my cheek, then his breath. Next thing I know, in between telling the guy he was talking to..
“Well…you can come by and check the engine tomorrow” and “It runs really great”,
..two wet lips hit mine..slowly and tentatively. I instinctively jerked my head away. The funny thing is, my first thought was..Why are his lips so wet? Did he actually saturate them with his tongue a million times before pulling this sneaky move? – instead of - What the $%^& are you doing? Which came next.
He backed off again…apologizing profusely. I began to wonder if he had even been talking to someone on the phone..maybe it was just some weird move he felt might work.? I was pissed.
“Take me home, Gary..NOW.” I’m not interested – Strike 2.
He immediately grabbed his keys, softly telling me how sorry he was, but I barely heard it..I just kept walking to his car – furious. When we pulled up to my house..he asked me if I was going to remain faithful to Dreamboat at college, insinuating that it would be almost impossible, since he had already gone two years at Rutgers, and it’s an academic meat market.
“Are you kidding me, Gary? Absolutely..I don’t want anyone else..I want to marry this man!”
He shook his head..then asked..”Then why aren’t you going to school locally?”
His question brought back that 4th of July evening, when Dreamboat, in his most vulnerable state, had me up against the tree, asking me to go local so we wouldn’t be apart.
I felt a tear, but quickly wiped it away.
Even though I didn’t feel I owed him an explanation, I explained anyway, to prove how much I loved Dreamboat.
He nodded..”Well..I guess that seals it”
“More than you know” I said, with a dash of ice
He leaned over..quickly requesting ”Just a goodbye/good luck peck” before I had any say in the matter, then pressed his wet lips to my cheek, but as close to my mouth as he could get. I pulled away, then opened the car door, wiping his slobbery peck off when he wasn’t looking.
“Goodnight, Gary..and thanks for driving me home”. I was out of there and at my front entrance in seconds. I’m not interested – Strike 3.
I ran up to my room and laid down on my bed. I couldn’t decide whether I should tell Dreamboat what happened, but then echoes of his friend’s stories filled my head..
“He almost killed a guy for beating his cousin to a pulp – they had the cuffs on him until they saw he pretty much saved his cousin’s life by nearly killing the guy”
Dreamboat would think nothing of getting in his car at 1 am and driving to find and beat the living daylights out of Gary. Gary would be beaten to a pulp, like the guy who attacked his cousin, and Dreamboat would definitely be arrested. I decided not to tell him..ever. I was leaving for Boston in about 12 hours..there would be no more chances for Gary to hit on me.
I laid there for a long while..I no longer felt like doing any last-minute checking for anything I might have forgotten.
I closed my eyes and ran my fingers back and forth over my lips. Gary’s wet, slimy lips were now the last to have touched mine until Thanksgiving..wiping away Dreamboat’s sweet goodbye kisses, less than 12 hours earlier. I called for my dog..who came running and jumped on my bed. I kissed his face and snout all over, then laid one squarely on his mouth.
The phone rang.
I picked it up “Hello?”
“Hey, Killer” a male voice whispered sweetly.
“Hey, baby” a female voice whispered back just as sweetly.
I felt his deep love and warmth envelop me. I grabbed the teddy bear with his T-shirt and hugged it to my chest. After 15 minutes of sweet talk – I was wracked with guilt, he really did deserve to know that the guy he politely asked to stop hitting on me, had done it again. But, the ramifications could/would be brutal, plus, I was a little worried he might not be thrilled to know that I went to this party via the invite from Gary. It was all on the tip of my tongue. waiting to slide off..I hated holding anything back from him…
Part 14B coming soon.