Thursday, 1 September 2011
My wedding order a couple of weeks ago was for a very rustic Victoria Sponge filled with jam, whipped cream and berries - complete with a layer of lemon drizzle. I was so paranoid that there wouldn't be enough cake that I made an absolute Goliath, necessitating emptying out my entire fridge to store it. The bottom tier is my tried and trusted adaptation of Nigella's recipe from Domestic Goddess, filled with a limoncello buttercream (yes, it was as delicious as it sounds). The top two and the cutting tier were finished off with blueberries, strawberries and blackberries from my allotment. The golden raspberries were foraged from our local Waitrose ;D
So, having loaded 4 enormous tiers of cake, a huge cakestand and all my paraphernalia into the car, I was expecting to find a cake table ready for me to set up on. What I wasn't expecting was to find that the reception venue was essentially a barn, some bales of hay and some Cath Kidston-esque decor ! And that I would end up having to construct the cake in the boot of my car, parked in the middle of a field !!!!
I'm just glued to The Great British Bakeoff. Mary Berry is one of my very favourite cookery writers and my Mum and I have been using her recipes for donkeys' years. Last year the programme sent me into a Victoria Sandwich Overdrive, and when I saw the Battenberg technical challenge on week one of this series, the metaphorical gauntlet was thrown. I found Mary's Coffee and Walnut version online and set about recreating it.
I have one of those cake tins that you can divide in about a million different ways but set it up to do two 2 x 12 inch rectangles that I could cut in half. I had an enormous bag of pecans so substituted these for the walnuts. I have to say that I felt they improved the taste. The coffee sponge, as you can see, was very dark and flavoured with a very strong espresso. The cakes are sandwiched together with espresso buttercream. The marzipan is Regalmarz, I find this rolls out so much more smoothly and evenly than the own-brand stuff you buy in the supermarket for very little extra cost. The cake is finished off with crimpers and a marzipan rose. All in all I am very pleased with how the cake turned out, apart from a slight mishap with one of the coffee sponges where a bit came off the side when removing it from the tin.
You can find Mary's recipe here. Warning ! Once you have one slice, you won't be able to stop !!!