Posts tagged sponge
Battenberg Cake…with a difference

So this month’s Daring Bakers challenge is….Battenberg cake.

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

Battenburg- the classic chequered sponge cake, sandwiched together with jam and all wrapped up in a marzipan jacket!

Marzipan is a tricky one, the traditional version is full of powdered sugar and although it's generally vegan I still have difficulty in endorsing such a sugary treat here on my blog! I have been trying to suss out a sugar free marzipan for quite some time now, with some degree of success here in my Christmas Stollen and my the toppings for the super-cute Christmas puds.

But when it comes to a rollable marzipan I have not yet had a breakthrough!

However this challenge allowed us to push the boundaries beyond a traditional Battenberg as long as we held true to the chequered sponge concept with a sweet covering whether it be marzipan, fondant or chocolate. So, one idea came to my mind straight away….

….the ‘world’s healthiest chocolate fudge’!

I had tried rolling the fudge dough previously to make these hearts and it worked really well, so I figured it could also work really well as the Battenberg covering.  That then just left the sponge and the flavours to choose. I opted for a plain vanilla sponge alongside a raspberry sponge (although it has taken on more of a brown tinge in the photos), that allowed me to use sugar-free raspberry jam as the sole sweetener in the raspberry sponge.  I opted to try my ‘easiest ever gluten free sponge’ recipe as the basis for this cake as i really wanted to go gluten free for this recipe.

In hindsight I wish I’d gone for a different sponge recipe, as whilst that simple sponge works well as a small super-simple mug cake, it just didn’t really do it for me as larger oven baked sponge. There was nothing drastically wrong with it, I just felt it could have been a lot more delicate with a lighter crumb. I also wish now that I’d rolled the fudge wrap a little thinner before wrapping the sponge slices.

The overall concept was a great success and the chocolate fudge coating worked a treat (particularly if I’d rolled it more finely), however after eating a slice with the sponge, I got the feeling that the sponge was not doing the cake justice. So what did I decide to do?  Peel the fudge off and reform it into fudge balls of course. Mmmm…much better!

Try this frosting…go on give it a go! It is so easy to form and model that you can cut it into rounds, bars, roll it out as an icing layer or even turn it into a soft piped healthy frosting as I did here with thes cupcakes.

I will give the Battenberg another go with an alternative sponge recipe at some point soon. This fudge frosting is so versatile that I want to give it a proper chance to do my Battenberg proud!

This link takes you to the original Daring Bakers Challenge notes with  plenty of alternate recipes for battenberg to try.

Recipe: Healthy Battenberg Cake

Makes 1 approx. 7” long cake

Ingredients: chocolate fudge frosting

  • ½  can black beans- rinsed and drained
  • 1 mashed banana
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (or raw cacoa powder)
  • 1/3 cup dates
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½  tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp stevia
  • ½ cup ground oats
  • 2 tbs ground flax
  • 2 tbs chia seeds


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth pliable dough is formed. The dough should be fairly tacky but not sticky and should easy to handle.

Roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment or similar for easily handling. Roll to achieve desired thickness and then, using thr parchment to assist, carefully drape across the jam coated sponge to create the finish Battenberg.

Ingredients: simple vanilla sponge

  • ½ cup buckwheat flour (or other GF grain)
  • 3 tbs ground almonds
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup plain soy yoghurt (or regular)
  • 2 tbs agave (for vanilla version)
  • 2 tbs sugar free raspberry jam (for raspberry version)


Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then add wet ingredients (other than agave and jam) and mix together well.  

Divide the mixture between two bowls and then add the agave and jam to a bowl each.  Note: to achieve a deeper red/pink colour you may need to add a few drops of food colouring.

You will now have two different coloured/flavoured mixtures. Spoon each into a 7” square  baking tin divided down the centre with parchment paper and foil to prevent the batters mixing (foil helps make a more ridged central partition).

Bake in  pre-heated oven  at 180C for approx. 15 mins until very lightly golden.

Assembling the Battenberg: 

Cut the slices of sponge into neat squares and arrange in a larger square with each flavour on the diagonal. Paint each edge with slightly runny sugar-free raspberry jam and then firmly wrap the chocolate fudge frosting around the entire cake, ensuring an overlap to seal.

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Celebrations all round……easiest ever fat-free vanilla sponge!

Today it is the official day of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Street parties and bunting have dominated the country this (cold and rainy) weekend. All the packaging in the shops has also gone mad for the jubilee…take this for example:

image   source

image source

Well, it made me smile!

Myself, well I have another small reason to celebrate, well two in fact!

On Saturday I won a prize with a photo I’d submitted to a competition for nature photography , the image I submitted was this one. It meant a lot to me as I’m hoping to push my photography to the next level over the coming months and not just in the area of food photography, so this small element of recognition inspired my confidence!

Secondly, drum roll please…..

…..This post is my 200th post on this blog!

Wow, that seems crazy to me and to think less than nine months ago none of this existed.   

To celebrate all of these things I wanted to make a jubilee inspired cake. For this occasion I have created my easiest ever fat free GF vanilla sponge.  It takes the form of a mug cake in its simplicity but here I have dolloped the sponge in the same way I did with this birthday cake to create a pretty stack! 

You could use other GF or spelt flours in place of the buckwheat as I have used.  Then let your imagination run wild with layering combinations…. Berries and cashew cream (or yoghurt for a lighter version) make the perfect summer pudding centrepiece with minimal effort!

If you have no celebration coming up…simply celebrate being alive, that in itself it pretty amazing after all!

Recipe: fat free vanilla sponge

Serves one as 3 dollops or 1 mug cake


  • 3tbs buckwheat flour (or other mild flavoured GF flour)
  • 1 tbs ground almonds
  • 1 tsp agave
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Scant ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3tbs plain soy yoghurt (or regular yoghurt for non-vegan)


Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl and then add wet ingredients and mix together well.

Either spoon into a microwavable bowl/mug for a mug cake or spoon in little round dollops on a microwavable plate to serve as flat sponges that can be layered up with fruit and cream in between.

Cook in the microwave  on full powder for 1 minute for flat dollops or slightly longer for a mug cake. Alternatively cook in the oven for approx.. 10-15 mins depending on size until ever so lightly golden.

Add-ins: substitute 1tbs flour for cocoa powder. Add a tablespoon of nuts/dried fruits /fresh fruit/choc chunks…..

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