Monday, March 7, 2011

Chocolate Battenberg Cake & a Giveaway!

Boy do I ever have a treat for you today! A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Storey Publishing asking if I was interested in reviewing one of their cookbooks -- A World of Cake by Krystina Castella. A book about cakes? Why of course!

Now, this isn't exactly your typical cake cookbook. Instead of solely focusing on cakes most Americans are used to, she goes around the globe searching for famous and traditional cakes from other countries such as Tamale Corn Cakes from Guatemala, Dobos Torte from Hungary, Groundnut Cake from Uganda, and Mooncakes from China. She doesn't merely present these cakes, but she also gives the history behind them and shows how certain cakes are related and how they all evolved from one base cake.

One of my favorite parts of this book is the Cake Holiday calendar found near the beginning of the book. I'm always looking for excuses to make things, and now I have a whole calendar full of them. :)

Not only were the people at Storey Publishing kind enough to send me a copy, but they are also providing another one for me to giveaway! I am super excited, as I'm sure you will find this book just as fascinating as I did!

Giveaway Rules:

{1} Leave me a comment below. You can just say "hi!" or anything else your heart desires (appropriate please, and no spam), once per day.
{2} Head over to Facebook and Like Storey Publishing. Then come back here and leave a separate comment that you did so. (This is a one time only entry.)
{3} While you're on Facebook anyways, Like A World of Cake, then leave a separate comment telling me you did. (This is a one time entry.)
{4} Tweet/Re-tweet about this giveaway: Enter to win a copy of A World of Cake at Runs With Spatulas! Then comment back here again that you did. You can do this once per day.

So you have 4 different ways and up to 14 chances to win this cookbook! Just don't forget that each entry needs to have it's own separate comment. (If you are already a Fan of either Facebook page, you can still enter using methods #2 & #3, just make sure to tell me in separate entries!)

Giveaway closes Sunday, March 13, midnight PST.

Make sure you fill in the email address in the comments form, or leave it for me so I am able to contact you in case you win! The winner will be notified on Monday, March 14, and will have 24 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.

Giveaway is only open to US residents.

Now on to what we're really here for. Of course I wanted to try every other recipe in this book, which made actually choosing one that much more difficult. I eventually settled on this recipe for a Chocolate Battenberg Cake as I was loving the checkerboard appearance.

The Battenberg Cake is a classic English tea cake, and thought to have been created "to celebrate the marriage of Princess Vitoria of Hesse and by Rhine, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Louis of Bettenberg in 1884."

Let's just start off by saying I am not exactly the world's greatest cake decorator by any means. Quite the opposite in fact. My cakes always lean and I tend to lose interest in any fancy decorating after a while. Which is why I stick to cupcakes if I'm making a cake batter. Which is why cutting and leveling and wrapping the cake in marzipan is waaaay outside this kid's comfort zone. I probably should have thought about that ahead of time, but I guess that's how we learn.

Chocolate Battenberg Cake
Slightly adapted from: A World of Cake, by Krystina Castella, page 142

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 cups caramel topping
5 1/2 cups marzipan (a recipe is included in the book)
2 1/4 cups chocolate ganache (recipe is included in the book)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch square cake pans and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the large work bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in, one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat in the milk and vanilla.

Divide the batter into two equal portions. (A kitchen scale is a Godsend here.) Place the first batter portion in one of the cake pans. Add the cocoa powder to the second half of the batter, and mix until fully incorporated. Transfer batter to the second cake pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let finish cooling on the rack.

Once cakes have cooled, stack the two cakes, and trim until they are both square. Placing the cakes next to each other, trim the tops of the cakes until they are both the same height and flat. Cut each cake into strips that are as wide as the cake is tall (my strips ended up being 1-inch by 1-inch).

Coat one side of a golden cake strip with caramel sauce. Set a chocolate cake strip next to it and press together so the caramel binds the two. Spread caramel on top of the two strips. Coat one side of another golden cake strip, then set it on top of the chocolate strip, with the caramel side facing in. Finally, place a chocolate cake strip on top of the first golden cake strip, and press it against the second golden cake strip. The strips should form a checkerboard pattern. Repeat with remaining strips to make a second, and if enough, a third cake.

Lightly sprinkle a work surface with powdered sugar. Separate the marzipan into two or three sections, depending on how many cakes you made. Wrap the unused section in plastic wrap and set aside. Roll out one section of the marzipan to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the marzipan so it will wrap around one entire cake, leaving the ends open. Set the cake on a short end of the marzipan and gently wrap the marzipan around the cake. Pinch together the seams. Repeat with the remaining cake and marzipan. Drizzle each cake with 1/2 - 1/3 of the chocolate ganache.

Makes: 2-3 cakes (serves 4-6 each)

Note: I was able to make three cakes from this recipe, and I still feel that each would serve 4-6.

Despite the fact that my cakes still weren't completely level and still leaning, I thought they turned out pretty cute. Although, I do have to admit they are quite the undertaking -- especially when you are making the marzipan yourself (yet another reason I need more counter space). These cakes turned out pretty good, although a tad bit drier than I am used to. Adam thought the marzipan tasted weird, but after reminding him it serves the same purpose as fondant (looks pretty but probably isn't the best tasting thing around) he was okay with it. Overall I thought the concept was really cute, although I would probably make it again with my own butter cake recipes, add buttercream between the strips rather than glaze, and use fondant instead of marzipan. (Yeah, I almost died when I saw how much almond flour cost...) But then again, that's just my huge sweet tooth talking.

Nutrition Facts - 3 cakes, serves 6 each
Amount per serving
Calories 750Calories from fat 286
% Daily Value
Total Fat 31.8g49%
Saturated Fat 13.9g69%
Cholesterol 90mg30%
Sodium 290mg12%
Total Carbs 110.3g37%
Dietary Fiber 2.4g9%
Sugars 24.2g
Protein 8.9g
Vitamin A 13%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 8%Iron 9%

Disclaimer: Storey Publishing provided me a copy of A World of Cake, however, all thoughts and opinions are mine.


  1. These cakes are totally cute, even if they are leaning a little! :) I've seen some fab recipes from this book, I've got to check it out!

  2. LOVE it! And I am thankful that you posted the Nurtitional Information - that doesn't happen very often! Thanks much!

    PS - I am already a FB fan of a World of Cakes!

  3. What a gorgeous little cake! I like the lean. Gives them character.

  4. Your little cakes are very cute, and everybody get their owm portion.

  5. Aww, what a lovely cake! You're the second person I've seen to have received a book and you're doing a giveway; LivLifeToo is also doing one.

  6. I love cake and this cookbook totally looks up my alley.

  7. The cake is so pretty and this book looks great. :)

  8. Thanks! Love to try it.

    Chris M.

    zekks at yahoo dot com

  9. Hi Danielle-Love your take on this recipe! I'm IN LOVE with my book:)This looks just delicious!!!

  10. I keep seeing this book around and I so want it! I also want a slice (or two) of this cake. Look at that marzipan around....dreamy!

  11. Who cares if they are leaning. They look wonderful to me.

  12. Cake is just so cakes look great! the book looks great as well!

  13. Sounds like an interesting cookbook. I'd love to see what other countries specialize in.

  14. Very mouth watering... il gonna try this tomorrow.


  15. This looks so yummy, and it's so pretty!

  16. I follow A world of Cake on FB!

  17. I liked Storey Publishing on Facebook!

  18. I liked a world of cake on Facebook!

  19. This cookbook looks like a lot of fun!

  20. I'm drooling over this cake... and it looks so cute! i'd love to get the book!

  21. Beautiful cake! I'd love to win the cookbook!

  22. I wouldn't think twice trying this one. I love the nutritional information you posted too.

  23. I love finding unique dessert recipes from different cultures - this book would be great for that. Your cake came out beautifully!


  24. Ah love this! My friend has been dying to make a Battenburg - she's eying the pink one but I can certainly convince her to make the chocolate one!

    Thanks for the post!

  25. Congrats on the opportunity to review the book - that's awesome!

  26. Kudos for tackling a challenging recipe!

  27. Nice lookin' cake. I've never had marzipan that bad?

  28. I've been seeing this cake pop up everywhere! I'd love to have a copy :) especially if it has awesome looking cakes like this! The wrapping in marzipan sounds like fun!

  29. What an inspiring cake! Can't wait to attempt it :)
    Thanks for an interesting read always!

  30. Cool cake! I would love to win a copy of this book!

  31. @Ms. Lollipop

    sorry! my contact info is catharine.ellie [at]

  32. And I tweeted~!!/coolmintoreos/status/45276417876955136

    catharine.ellie [at]

  33. Very cute. I love the checkerboard pattern.

  34. Oh gosh! I LOVE marzipan! And the cute checkerboard patter- too cute!

  35. The book looks fun and the cake looks yummy!

  36. Wow! That looks labor intensive but delicious!

  37. I've seen so many people giving this away, I am just hoping to win one of them!!!

  38. MMM!! My daughter saw this cake in the book (we have a giveaway too, so don't enter me in yours! I just wanted to comment anyway!) and she really wanted to make it. We haven't had a chance yet though. Yours turned out nicely, I love the contrasting colors and she loves the chocolate on top!

  39. I liked a world of cake on fb!

  40. Your cake reminds me of Alice in Wonderland for some reason. =)

    And I love your blog name! Very creative.

  41. how adorable! great idea for a black and white party or a kids party - elegant and fun!

    Jas at

  42. Marzipan is killer awesome, it's on my to-do list...once I can find almond meal.



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