Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Batbattenburg: My Take on the Classic Cake

Sugar-free, gluten-free Coffee Walnut Battenburg Cake with xylitol and cassava flour

     I've been experimenting with xylitol and cassava flour to make our desserts sugar-free and gluten-free, and I'm happy to report that, for the most part, they've succeeded!

     My mom discovered cassava flour, and I decided to experiment with it because it's a light, refined texture and is supposed to work as an almost one-for-one substitute for all-purpose white flour. It has also been reported to absorb more moisture than all-purpose flour, so some sources recommend reducing the amount slightly (my guess for the reason that it absorbs more liquid is because it is even finer than regular flour).

Morning Pep xylitol and Anthony's Premium Cassava Flour
The two ingredients that have made healthy desserts possible!
Both available from
     My latest experiment with these two ingredients is Mary Berry's Coffee and Walnut Battenburg Cake, and the verdict from the family is favorable so far! Which means that we have another sugar- and wheat-free dessert that everyone likes! A total win in my book.

     I based my cake on the recipe from the Great British Bake Off How to Bake cookbook, and I referenced a marzipan recipe online (because, as usual, the recipe for the cake expects you to be able to find marzipan pre-made in the store – unfortunately, I live in the U.S.).

I didn't have to change much in either recipe. But be sure to read the rest of the post to see what I did change, so you can avoid my mistakes...
  1.  Cream together using a wooden spoon:
    • 100g unsalted butter
    • 90g xylitol
    • 2 large eggs at room temperature
    • 90g cassava flour
    • 1 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
    • 50g almond flour
  2. Divide the batter in half. To one half add:
    • few drops of vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons milk
  3. To the other half add:
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons coffee granules (I used instant coffee) mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons milk
    • 25g chopped walnuts
  4. Make a fold in the center of a piece of parchment paper, put it in an 8-inch square cake pan, then add the vanilla-flavored batter to one half and the coffee/walnut flavored batter to the other. 
  5. Spread with a knife, then bake for about 35 minutes (cover lightly with foil if the cakes begin to brown). Remove both cakes from the pan after a few minutes of letting them cool.
  6. For icing, mix together:
    • 100g powdered xylitol, sifted
    • 40g softened butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon coffee granules in 1 1/2 teaspoons milk

The two different batters divided by the parchment paper.
The two different batters divided by the parchment paper.
Flavoring for the vanilla batter.
Flavoring for the vanilla batter.

Flavoring for coffee walnut batter.
Flavoring for coffee walnut batter.
My rather flat cakes
My rather flat cakes...
      I had to increase the baking powder from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 1/3 teaspoon. (I know there is no such thing as 1/3 teaspoon, so I'd just do a heaping 1/4 teaspoon.) ;) The recipe calls for self-raising flour and baking powder, but I was naïve and just followed the recipe without considering the implications. My cake didn't rise at all, and I am pretty sure a lack of baking powder is the reason why.

So I made a little graphic for future recipes that call for self-raising (also called self-rising) flour:

Emergency self-raising flour recipe for substitue flours.

     Even with the non-rising disaster, it still tasted good! And I was able to construct it so that it didn't look as if it had been sat on. The instructions have you cut each flavor in half, then stack them to look like a chessboard. So to compensate for the lack of height, I cut mine into thirds! It was still on the small side, but it at least resembled the traditional square shape.

The marzipan recipe I used is:
  • 2 1/2 oz./5 tablespoons blanched and ground almonds (almond flour would work, too, it just wouldn't look as smooth)
  • 3 1/2 oz./7 tablespoons powdered xylitol (to get it to the fine consistency just pop it in a Ninja blender or food processor and pulse it a few times in 5 second bursts)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Sift the almonds and xylitol together.
  2. Add the water and extract, mix with your hands until it comes together. (You may need to add a little water.)
  3. Roll it into a log shape, wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  4. Roll out the marzipan between two sheets of parchment paper.
  5. To wrap around the cake, remove one piece of the parchment paper from the rolled out marzipan, then take the other and roll up the cake (making sure to press the marzipan well onto the cake before carefully removing the parchment paper).
     Ét vóila! You can now enjoy a delicious and practically-good-for-you dessert! It's perfect with tea or coffee, for birthdays and holidays, or just whenever you'd like!

Sugar-free, gluten-free Coffee Walnut Battenburg Cake with xylitol and cassava flour

Sugar-free, gluten-free Coffee Walnut Battenburg Cake with xylitol and cassava flour

Sugar-free, gluten-free Coffee Walnut Battenburg Cake with xylitol and cassava flour

© Anna Morton 2017

No comments:

Post a Comment