Earl Grey Battenburg

Well, it’s almost the end of November.

Almost the end of cake cake cake! month around here.

Almost, just because I’ve got one more seasonally appropriate cakey hybrid for you lovely people coming up in December, and then I promise to stop riding the crazy kicking cake horse for at least a month.

Maybe three weeks. We’ll see! I still want to make blue velvet cupcakes soon.

So, fair warning about this Earl Grey Battenburg — this is a two-day cake.

You can’t complete it in a day because it needs time to bake, to cool, to slice, to freeze, to trim, to wrap, to finish.

But don’t let that discourage you! Good things, worthwhile things, delicious things, always take a little time and patience.

I’ve had the inspiration for this tea and lemon fusion knocking around my head for a while — ever since my good friend gave me A World of Cake as gift some time ago.

If you love cake, it’s an awesome book to have.

Even if you never get around to making any recipes and just look at all the pretty photos and read about the history of cake and drool on the pages a little, it’s still an awesome book to have.

Anyways, about this Battenburg: it’s good to look at and good to eat!

While a little on the sweet side, I think it’s well-balanced by the checkerboard of moist and light lemon cake and delicately floral Earl Grey cake.

This recipe is enough to yield two finished Battenburg cakes — it has to be done this way in order to make the recipes work, what with measuring and baking time and whatnot — but you don’t have to actually make two whole Battenburg.

If you just want to make one Battenburg and nom on the cake scraps that are left over, then just cut the amount of lemon curd and marzipan in half.

Which is what I did — those cake scraps never had a chance!

Earl Grey Battenburg

*cake adapted from The Patient & The Pantry

Ingredients

Earl Grey Cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 Earl Grey tea bags, your favourite kind

Lemon Cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 ~ 8 drops yellow food colouring

To Finish 2 Battenburg

  • 1 cup lemon curd
  • 4 cups (450g/16oz) marzipan
  • fresh raspberries or blueberries, to garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Line two 8-inch square baking pans with parchment paper.

To make the Earl Grey cake, sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside. Heat the whole milk until it’s very warm to the touch and steep one of the Earl Grey tea bags in it. Set aside.

Open the two remaining tea bags and chop the tea leaves until they are very small — the smaller, the better!

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and chopped tea leaves.

Mix the batter until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often.

Add the sifted flour mixture and tea-infused milk (discarding the steeped tea bag) in three alternating additions.

Scrape the batter into one of the prepared pans and bake for 25 ~ 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

To make the lemon cake, sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and fresh lemon zest.

Mix the batter until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often.

Add the sifted flour mixture and milk in three alternating additions, finishing with the lemon juice and yellow food colouring.

Scrape the batter into one of the prepared pans and bake for 25 ~ 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for an hour before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely before proceeding with assembly.

To assemble a Battenburg, first measure the approximate height of your square cakes, then cut the square cakes into long blocks a little wider than the height of the cake.

Place one block of Earl Grey cake and one block of lemon cake on a large piece of tinfoil, parchment, or plastic wrap.

Using the lemon curd as a glue, spread a thin layer of lemon curd on the “inside” edges of each block of cake and press them together.

Spread lemon curd in a thin layer over the top of the pressed together cake blocks and place another layer of cake blocks on top of the first, making certain to “glue” the top cake blocks together on their inside edges, too.

Repeat this process for the remaining cake.

Once finished, wrap the assembled cakes in the freezer to chill overnight — this will make trimming and wrapping the cakes in marzipan infinitely easier.

When ready to finish the Battenburg, generously dust a clean working surface with icing sugar and roll out half the marzipan into a rectangle about 1/8th of an inch (3 ~ 4mm) thick.

If necessary, trim any edges off the frozen cakes in order to make the checkerboard patterns of cake the same width and height.

Place one of the frozen cakes in the middle of the rolled marzipan, brush the sides lightly with more lemon curd, and wrap the cake in marzipan.

Use a bit of water to seal the seam, dust off any excess icing sugar, cover the cake tightly in plastic wrap, and rest in the fridge for one hour.

Repeat this process for the remaining frozen cake.

Once the Battenburg has chilled for an hour, remove it from the fridge and cut the ends so that they look clean and your lovely checkerboard handiwork is exposed!

To store, wrap entirely or simply cover the exposed ends with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.

To serve, cut a slice, drizzle with any remaining lemon curd, and top with fresh berries.

And what, you may ask, should one serve a beautiful slice of Earl Grey Battenburg cake with? Why, an equally beautiful cup of Earl Grey tea, my dahlinks! Yum!

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17 thoughts on “Earl Grey Battenburg

  1. A Tablespoon of Liz says:

    I’ve always wanted to make a checkered cake like this… it looks sooo pretty! And I love the flavors, they sound like they go amazing together!

  2. daisy says:

    What a beautiful cake! The combination of flavors is unique and very interesting and your execution is perfect. I will fly out to Vancouver to the grand opening of your bakery, when the time comes!! Very well done.

    • Christine says:

      Aw, haha — thanks, but I think that’ll be a while off yet. If pastry school has taught me anything, it’s that I have a really, really, reeeeeally long way to go yet. 🙂

  3. What a beautifully done Battenburg, and I love the concept of earl grey and lemon – perfect together. Super jealous of your immaculate presentation! Bravo 🙂

  4. Christine, this is beautiful! I’ve never heard of a battenburg before but I just love the concept.

  5. Beverly says:

    Love the presentation of the Battenburg. Very well written recipe… I will definitely try. I love lemon and the combination of Earl Grey — great cake for the holidays!

  6. I’m pretty certain that this is my favourite recipe by you so far. Raspberries? White chocolate? Earl grey? The flavours all meld together and complement one another perfectly. I want to stuff my face-hole with your gorgeous, elegant, luscious cake!

  7. OK so apparently it was marzipan, not white chocolate, but still, the cloying sweetness of marzipan works perfectly with the bitter earl grey and tangy raspberries.

  8. Oh. Wait. It was lemon curd. OK, it STILL works perfectly with the tangy raspberries and bitter earl grey. As we Deven Green fans like to say, absholutely yumzh!

    • Christine says:

      Lemon and white chocolate go together! Raspberries and white chocolate go together! Earl Grey tea goes with lemon and raspberries and white chocolate all go together too! The point is that it is indeed absolutely yumzh! 😀

  9. kaliesthoughts says:

    I cant have lemon 😦

    • Christine says:

      Aw — but don’t let that stop you! You can replace lemon with cherry cake (very traditional), vanilla cake, or orange cake. Baking is all about creativity — a regular ol’ Battenburg is yellow cake and pink cake with apricot jam, so I just got creative to make it work for me. 🙂

  10. Belle says:

    goodness me. this looks fantastic!!!

  11. OMG-I missed this due to vacation, so glad I stopped in. This really is a stunning cake and I love the flavor combination. I thought that these cakes were baked in a special pan for some reason-delighted to find that they are not. I definitely am going to save this recipe as well as the pictures to help. This looks like something you would find in a bakery and I would surely buy it!

  12. This is beautiful! You are talented! I don’t think I could do this, nor have the patience!

  13. Asmita says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Love the combination of flavors and the presentation looks amazing!

  14. This is gorgeous and apparently easier than it looks from the finished product. I love checkerboard things. I don’t care for Earl Grey tea, but I will think of an acceptable substitute and perhaps attempt this some time for a celebration.

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