Happy Finland's Independence Day!
Since 1917 Finland's Independence Day is celebrated on the 6th December. This special holiday inspired me to make a cake in the Finnish colours, blue and white. I do admit that I didn't quite get the right shade of blue even though I used a whole small bottle of food colouring! Maybe my colour wasn't as strong as it should be. I was reluctant adding more fluid as the sponge might then not have baked properly, so I had to settle with this colour. I was still quite happy to have managed to somehow assemble a halfway civil Battenberg cake.
I followed this Battenberg recipe by Sarah Cook, but I changed it slightly, so I'm giving my own version here and the original can be found through this link. So if you have a free afternoon, make these nice cakes (this recipe actually makes two Battenbergs). I had to spend too long time on this, but I'm sure next time I'll be quicker.
Ingredients for the almond sponge:
175g soft butter
175g golden caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
½tsp baking powder
½tsp vanilla extract
½tsp almond extract
Ingredients for the blue sponge:
All the same ingredients as for the almond sponge
38ml natural blue food colour
Ingredients for the assembling:
200g blueberry jam
2x500g blocks white fondant
Icing sugar for rolling out the fondant
It's best to use a 20x20cm square cake tin, where you can make a division of baking paper in the middle. That way you can bake both coloured sponges at the same time. If you are not too keen on the concrete colour of my cake or the Finnish theme, please use any vibrant colour for the second sponge.
First make the almond sponge by putting the butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and almond extract in a large bowl. Beat the ingredients with a hand mixer until the mixture is smooth. Then mix the ingredients for the blue sponge in a separate bowl to the same texture.
Heat the oven to 180C and bake the sponges for about 30 minutes. After the baking allow them to cool fully. This is the phase where you have to be really patient or own a nice porch.
Heat the jam in a small pan until it's runny, then sieve it in order to remove the seeds. Also roll out the fondant blocks fairly thinly on an even surface covered with icing sugar. The jam and the fondant will hold the cake together later on.
Start trimming the sponges by cutting the rough edges off with a large knife and then cutting long square rods from them. Try to make them as evenly sized as possible in order to be able to make a regular checkerboard pattern.
Then spread jam on the sides of the sponges that will touch each other, and also spread it on one side of the fondant. Place the sponges together by making a checkerboard effect. Then lift the fondant up and smooth it on the cake, jam side down. Fold it around the sponges and press the corners firmly together. You can make decorative pressings with a fork. Repeat the procedure for the second cake.
Serve the cake with loads of good coffee, it's Finland's Independence Day after all. Have a lovely day all, in Finland and everywhere else!