Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan

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! Okay, 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.

Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan
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.

Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan

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.

However, 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 weeknights to play with the Battenberg, and my second cashew marzipan rolled out quite nicely.

Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan

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 always cut things crookedly. This is why I bought the pan, to make my presently off-kilter life on-kilter.  The less I have to think about something, the better.

Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan

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 and simple 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 Battenberg batter, and 1 cup of black sesame seeds to the other half of the Battenberg batter.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan

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 Daring Bakers Dobos Torte (Oh, those photos kill me!).  I changed my mind after deciding that this Battenberg 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 good decision.

Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan

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 flowers called sakura..well, my version of them.  I decided to do the flowers and branches at the last minute, and each flower took for-ev-er by hand, with no tools.  I got so fed up after three, that I started pinching them into stars, so that was the most tedious part, but again, it was my decision, not something Mandy requested.

Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan

With that said, I’m not a fan of fondant, but there’s not a ton of tiny blossoms (or stars) 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.

Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan

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80 Responses to Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan

  1. Your cake is fabulous! Great job here.

    Loved the story… Can’t wait to learn more!



  2. Your versions for these challenges are always amazing!
    I just love the Japanese concept for the cake.
    The homemade cashew marzipan sounds delicious,
    And I love the flavors and colors combination you’ve created.
    With the cute flower on top of it’s a perfect version- wtg!

  3. liana says:

    This really looks Japanese (says I, who have never been in Japan) – when I saw the photo on DB I thought – hm … modern-japaneese look. I like the contrast of colours and the idea of using black sesame seeds. Great job!

  4. chef_d says:

    I really admire your flavor combinations and you made your own cashew marzipan…wow! Your battenberg cake looks impressive! Great job!
    Waiting for the next installment :))

  5. That cake looks awesome! I love Japanese cherry trees, and it looks like it would be very tasty 🙂 x

  6. Mary says:

    I love the colour contrasts in your cake, and the branches and flowers are gorgeous. I definitely need to look into the cashew marzipan too. I have some preserved Japanese sakura blossoms in my freezer that I’ve been meaning to incorporate into a cake for a while–must get on that…

  7. recipesprout says:

    WOW! Absolutely stunning cake in all aspects!

  8. Winnie says:

    I really like what you did with this cake
    I LOVE your creativity
    You cake looks great and I’m curious about the taste
    I’ve never tasted Matcha powder and don’t even know what it is exactly.
    My sister-in-law in Washington right now – can you tell me where she can find it??

    BTW – a few month ago I made a similar cake, and called it Rubik Cube Cake – you can see it here

  9. Shelley C says:

    Beautifully done. Seriously. Darn humidity for making it harder than it should be, but your results were worth the wait!! I hope, baking-project-interrupting-humidity aside, that you’re having a good summer, my friend! 🙂

  10. Well, I learned a lot today. First of all – had no idea there was a special pan for this cake. Doesn’t sound like it really worked anyway – but, somehow, that doesn’t matter. It exists. i want it.
    Secondly, where do you live that it is so humid?
    Thirdly, you have a WILD imagination, Lisa. WILD! I love it.
    The cake looks tasty. Red is not my colour this time of year. Give me snow, winter, and February – then red works – but you probably had red on the brain with your red hot lover.

  11. What an amazing cake. Write up my alley. I’m so impressed that you’ve heard of Mary Berry. I’ve made her coffee and walnut battenburg. Delicious but no where as near as perfect as yours.

  12. themadhausfrau says:

    Cashew marzipan? omg. I love the ginger flavored chocolate ganache and the flavors you used in the cake. You made me smile because I can’t cut or trim a cake to save a life either.

  13. zazacook says:

    You did a marvellous job on this challenge. Your Battenberg cake is so beautiful, so perfect! Beautiful design on top!

  14. Sarah says:

    Your cake was well worth the wait! You did an amazing job and cashew marzipan sounds awesome.

  15. Liz says:

    Wow, this is one gorgeous cake! I should have come out of DB retirement for this one, but no way could I outshine your masterpiece! Your garnishing is phenomenal. Can’t wait for your next installment~

  16. FoodBabbles says:

    Your cake is ridiculously awesome!!! I am so very IMPRESSED! Wow! I really want to try my hand at decorating a little more. I have only tied once, at a class.

    On another note, I’m so glad you’re stretching this story out because I don’t want it to end but at the same time, each time you stop I want more and more and more! Love it 🙂

  17. Such a fun Battenberg. You are always so creative. I had troubles with this challenge. Maybe if I had a Battenberg pan I could have done better.

  18. Sammie says:

    What a beautiful cake Lisa!!! I’m sooooo impressed!! I love how you fusioned this cake!!! Oh my goodness!! I simply am just stunned at this! Everything’s gorgeous from the marzipan design, azuki beans spread to the batter.. wow!! Love it!

  19. This is, without a doubt, the most amazing and exciting battenberg I’ve ever seen 🙂 Amazing.

  20. susie says:

    I love the dog came to the tainted lips rescue! The cakes looks amazing! I almost feel guilty rushing through your post to get to the good stuff! For a girl consumed by food and baking, you know it’s good if I am brushing past the Battenberg! (on my very long to do list…)

  21. Dan says:

    If I haven’t been impressed before (which I have many times) I certainly am now. That cake is Awesome. Where can I get a piece to eat? Love the story and how Gary was relentless in his pursuit and how loyal you are. You must certainly be quite good looking to get all this attention ;)… can’t wait for the next installment and whatever else you decide to create.

  22. Crumbs of Love says:

    I can only imagine how difficult it has been to work with marzipan (or just turning the oven on to bake)in the crazy heat . thats been going on there already. It looks beautiful so you should be very happy with yourself.I’m coming to NY for the month of August so I can only hope that the challenge won’t be anything like this! Super work as usual Lisa. so, do you end up marrying dreamboat??

  23. RecipeNewZ says:

    So original! I see lots of these battenberg cakes from the Daring Bakers, but this is the most unique of them all! Bravo!

  24. Beautiful cake!
    p.s. Lisa, check out your spam folder, there is another comment there :-).

  25. Eliza says:

    Having been to Japan several times, I knew the Sakura the minute I saw this cake! I love the fusion and it’s so pretty! Also starting your story!

  26. I love your creative style !! Love the Asian take on it !! I love the colors I left mine natural, wld love to try this next time

  27. maris61 says:

    As intriguing as this next chapter of a *suggested* potential duel between Dreamboat vs. Gary, the preparation, artsy presentation, and “adult” qualities of this cake is MORE intriguing. If it could be said that a cake was wearing lingerie, this is IT. I am seduced :-)……FWIW, Gary DID score some points for the savvy logistic questions he posed about school, as well as his confidence in moving in as he sensed a looming loophole in the relationship.

  28. Anna says:

    Absolutely gorgeous Battenberg! Your so creative!

  29. Leanne says:

    This is the coolest Battenberg I’ve ever seen! I really love your blog, such great food and enjoyable reads!

  30. mydearbakes says:

    OMG. you make such lovely bakes! Yummy! =)

  31. Sophie says:

    This classical cake you turned around 180 times! You always make the perfect adaptions of classical cakes & pastries! This one looks just amazing, stunning & nearly to beautiful to savour! 🙂 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!! xxx

  32. MandyM says:

    Amazing! But then I knew you’d make a fantastic cake, you always do 😀

    Thanks for being my “sidekick”, even though things came up and you couldn’t officially be part of the challenge, it was fun brainstorming with you and having you part of the challenge that way.

    And again, loving your BB story, next one please! 😀

    Love you loads *hugs*

  33. Your cake looks exquisite!! love your story, waiting for part 14B! 🙂

  34. I love pretty much anything with matcha in it. Absolutely beautiful, and, I’m certain, delicious as well. Great job as always! I hadn’t really intended to read the story, but now I’m hooked. Can’t wait to see how it wraps up!

  35. I would also need the special pan, I don´t have the patience for perfect cutting and decorating. But you made your own marzipan! Waiting, waiting… please tell me you didn´t open your mouth…

  36. Wow this cake looks absolutely amazing! I love that mold, where did you get it from? I’ve never seen it before but it looks so useful for cakes like this…
    I would so totally love these flavours because I’m a fan of Japanese food. 🙂

  37. Megan says:

    Oh no… I can’t way tho find out if you told him.

  38. Suz says:

    Aha, your post in Britishisms made me laugh. To be fair, I do say ‘wanker’ and ‘bollocks’ a lot.

    But WOAH though. Woah, I say. That must be the most beautiful battenberg ever. The decoration, the flavours. It’s stunning. You’re so innovative!

  39. This is the prettiest thing I have seen all day! I think I’m in love! Gorgeous!

  40. Dinavia says:

    Ohhhh..I hope you didn’t tell him! You pushed him away and he wasn’t forceful. No need to worry about Dreamboats pride and respect! Now..its been awhile since you’ve amped up your natural pastry-artistic skills and WOWS! Never heard of a Battenberg, but now that I looked up some images, I think you made the most unique, beautiful Battenberg ever ..well..next to a Rubix cube I saw! You rocked the cherry sakura blossom tree topping!

  41. Lori says:

    tickety-boos… love that. Wherever did you find such a saying? This cake would wow me. Love the flavors and presentation. Simply de-lightful daaahrling!

  42. I love the vibrant colors and Asian aesthetic that you’ve imbued upon this storied cake! Not only do you make me laugh, but I knew nothing of Battenburg cakes or the special baking pans that one can buy to make them 🙂 P.S. I also loved your Zebra cake, old or new – still a stunning cake!

  43. It has been way too long since I have vivisted my freiend and I apologise – I lost many subscriptions a couple months back and still am retrieving them!
    Your version of this cake is the most exotic and beautiful I have seen so far, the colour and theme is lovely!
    And I love your series!

    Choc Chip Uru

  44. huntfortheverybest says:

    so pretty, love the design!

  45. Pru says:

    This story reminds me so much of my first love, he was a bad boy too..but a little worse as far as “bad” goes! Love your writing..very smooth and refreshingly honest. Your cake is stunning!

  46. foodiestuntman says:

    Call this a fusion dish? Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

  47. Sandra says:

    Beautiful! I admire your dedication, this was intense and you nailed it. Congrats on Top 9!

  48. Congrats on being one of the top 9 in the daily Food Buzz post today! Happy Dance! I have just joined the Daring Bakers – and am thrilled with this month’s challenge – a nice easy way to start – and something I love to make anyway. The recipes look good, too!

  49. bunkycooks says:

    I saw your cake on Foodbuzz Top 9. Yay for you! This cake is very creative, so you are definitely deserving. We need to get you to the top slot! 😉 Loved the latest installment of your love story. I still say you need to make a book out of it.

  50. Jamie says:

    Oh how I want one of those very cool Battenberg cake pans! And of course your Japanese cake is so unique…what a creative baker you are! Amazing and I’d love to taste it. The story is killing me, Lisa!!! Hurry up and finish! And pass a slice of cake. Gosh now I need to bake one of these.

  51. VickyVicky says:

    Beautiful cake! Congrats on making the top 9!

  52. Elizabeth says:

    I love this story!!! Is Part 14B coming soon?? Pretty battenberg…the Sakura is beautiful!

  53. Ken says:

    Great cake — very unique and creative. Just subscribed to your blog..love finding hidden treasures.

  54. Lila says:

    I can’t believe this beautiful cake is only number 8 in the Top 9! Should be in the top 3!! I buzzed you, though..congrats!

  55. jeannietay says:

    Lovely cake! Very well done and of course congrats on making to top 9:)

  56. Wow Lisa, I was expecting to see something spectacular and you delivered! Your Battenberg (which would most definitely shock the pants off the Queen) is gorgeous! I love the cashew marzipan.

  57. I sadly had to set this one out but I have to say that your cake is a true work of art lisa!
    I love everything about it. The colors, the flavors, the decorations..stunning!

  58. Where have I been all these years that I’ve never come across one of these amazing cake pans? You really rocked this challenge, Lisa. The color is stunning and the design so delicate and lovely. Love this part of the story and am going to patiently await the next part…maybe finale?;) xx

  59. I think your battenberg cake looks amazing and I adore the Japanese flavors. Ever had roasted black sesame ice cream, yum! And the ganache looks silky and wet (like a wet kiss lol). Love the marzipan and flowers too.

    Hey who does this Gary think he is? But you are being too much of a goodie-two-shoes with the guilt rip ;-). Next part to read please?

  60. HOLY CATS!!!!! I just read a post on Battenberg, and realized I had never heard of this cake. AND then I read your fantastic post!!! I love your spin on a classic cake, your flavors sound wonderful:-) AND seriously your top of the cake is sooooo pretty with the cherry sakura blossoms!! Hugs, Terra

  61. What an impressive work of art! This sophisticated, palette-tempting cake would make any flavor combination taste fantastic! The cashew marzipan is very intriguing! (I’ve impressed myself so much with this comment, I think I’ll copy it to make sure I don’t lose it!)

  62. Lisa, I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately and wondering how you are. Then I was on Triberr and trying to figure the thing out and typed in food blogger hit return and there you are! I love it when stuff like that happens. Your cake looks awesome, wow you are so detailed and make it look easy when I know it is anything but. I haven’t been doing the Daring Bakers for a while and I miss not connecting up with you. Love your story telling you are so fun girl. Have a wonderful weekend xoxox Suz

  63. Lisa, how did I miss your gorgeous cake!? I think I visited a bit too early and it wasn’t yet up as it turns the 27th earlier here. What a beauty it is! And cashew marzipan is a brilliant idea for those that don’t like almonds!!

  64. Jasline says:

    Wow, I’m blown away! The cake is simply beautiful and I’m sure it’s absolutely deliciuos as well!

  65. This is beautifully decorated. My Battenberg was such a disaster I keep putting off writing a blog post about it, but I’ll do it soon.

  66. the Queen may say no to the cake, but i’d be more than happy to take it off your hands 🙂 you’re so creative Lisa, the Japaneses flavors sound amazing.

  67. Shaz says:

    Such a beautiful cake Lisa. I’m sure the Queen would approve 😉 So sad I missed this challenge (that’s two from two now, sigh). Hope all is well in Lisa land 🙂 Love the flavour combos you used in this cake too.

  68. Teresa says:

    wow..what a wonderful, delicious cake, i have been tasting this ..lovely..amazing

  69. Jenni says:

    Look at me finally leaving a comment! Whoo! LOL. Your battenburg is so fun, what a great combination of flavors, and the flowers turned out superb!! Great job as always Lisa!! 🙂

  70. Pingback: Top 10 Red and Green Matcha Cakes - Top Inspired

  71. Judy H says:

    Looks awesome and very Japanese, and I have eaten lots of authentic Japanese desserts in Japan. I’m always looking for more things to make with matcha powder!

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