This week’s Ingredient is Marzipan. A paste made with almonds and sugar, marzipan is used to make filled chocolate, adorable sculptures of fruits, vegetables and animals and to frost cakes. I chose to frost a cake.
I used German marzipan, which is sugar ground with whole almonds and then partially dried. There are many other varieties of marzipan. French marzipan is made with sugar syrup as opposed to granulated sugar. Swiss marzipan, Konisberger, is made with almonds, powdered sugar, egg whites and lemon juice. I chose German marzipan because it was available. Marzipan can also be made at home if you have the time.
After making this cake, I wondered why I didn’t choose to make some cute little animals or attempt to make a fruit basket with marzipan. I’m a sculptress of many mediums, but my mind didn’t relate sculpting to food. I may use the leftovers to make some sculptures like this or this. So many possibilities!
The cake I made is Battenberg cake, a traditional British cake that is made with a light sponge cake in both pink and white or yellow. Most often the layers of cake are coated with apricot jam, then wrapped in a thin layer of marzipan. The cake displays a checkerboard pattern, two by two, which represents the four Battenberg princes. The cake was created for the 1884 wedding of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, who married Prince Louis of Battenberg. It seems to be a very proper little cake!
I did not have apricot jam in the pantry, but I did have kumquat jam leftover from this Sweet, so that is what I used. It made a delicious cake. A one-inch thick slice was just enough sweetness to satiate my cravings for a few days.
Sour Cream Sponge Cake
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs (I use farm fresh eggs which weigh an average of 50g each in the shell)
1 1/4 cups Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
1 stick Earth Balance vegan butter-y stick, melted and allowed to cool
2 t. vanilla extract1 cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend
1 cup of almond meal/flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. guar gum
Red or pink food coloring
Kumquat or Apricot Jam
1 box, 5.64 ounces Marzipan
powdered sugar for dusting
In bowl of stand mixer, cream together sugar and eggs. Blend for 2 to 3 minutes until a light yellow color is reached. Add Better Than Sour Cream, melted butter and vanilla extract. Slowly add in dry ingredients, mixing on medium until a smooth batter comes together.
In an oiled 9″ square baking dish, add half (approximately 2 cups) of the batter. This will be used for the white/yellow cake.
Add a few drops of red or pink food coloring to the remaining batter and mix well. I used the McCormick NEON! food coloring.
In a second oiled 9″ baking dish, add the pink cake batter.
Bake at 350 until done, 22 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Cut four identical size pieces of cake. I cut 1.5″ strips that were approximately 8″ long (I trimmed off the ends). You may wish to level your cake, as this cake does rise in the center a bit.
On a surface dusted with powdered sugar, roll out Marzipan until it is very thin. Spread with a thin layer of jam.
Spread a thin layer of jam on each surface of the cake pieces. Stack them in the center of the marzipan, pink beside white on the bottom topped with white beside pink on the top, creating a checkerboard pattern.
Pull the marzipan up around the sides, meeting on the top. Gently crimp the edge. This will be the bottom of your cake. Trim ends if necessary and remove from rolling surface onto serving plate. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. You may dust with a bit of powdered sugar or roll the entire cake in fine granulated sugar if you like.
Slice into 1″ pieces. This cake is very sweet, a little slice goes a long way! Enjoy!