Inspired by the Great British Bake Off? Looking for a recipe that uses up the pumpkins that are everywhere? Then have a look at this unusual recipe for Pumpkin and Parsnip Battenberg cake from West Berkshire baker Kate Saunders’ new cookbook Blackberry Cottage: Cakes with Secret Ingredients from Aubergine to Zucchini
The book contains more than 100 delicious cake and dessert recipes and draws on her unique expertise and the thousands of cakes she has made through her award-winning business, Blackberry Cottage.
Even if you think you don’t like vegetables, you’ll find that including them in a cake recipe actually improves the texture, moistness or appearance.
2 medium free range eggs
130g caster sugar
120g sunflower oil
240g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
For the chocolate sponge
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk (any kind is fine)
For the vanilla sponge
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp apricot jam
500g marzipan (ready made is fine)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
Thoroughly grease a Battenberg tin with butter.
Peel and finely grate both the pumpkin and parsnip. Whisk the eggs, sugar and oil together until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and baking powder onto the eggs, then gently fold in.
Halve the mixture, transferring one half to a separate bowl – to make two sponges.
For the chocolate sponge – add the cocoa powder and milk to one half of the mixture and fold in gently. Now add the grated pumpkin and fold in.
For the vanilla sponge – fold the vanilla extract and grated parsnip into the other half of the mixture.
Pour each mixture evenly into the prepared tin – 2 lines of chocolate and 2 lines of vanilla. Pop into the middle of the preheated oven to bake for 20-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before taking out of the tin.
Building your Battenberg
A neatly made Battenberg cake is a technical challenge for any baker, so don’t worry if your edges aren’t perfect, it will still taste delicious.
Lightly dust some baking parchment with a little icing sugar, roll the marzipan out to an oblong, using the tin as a guide. Remember that you want the marzipan slightly longer than the cake and 4 times the width, roughly 25cm x 38cm, which will give you a little bit extra to play with.
The sponges should be fairly square, so if needed, slice the top off each cake to square up.
Warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan or the microwave. If it’s lumpy, push it through a sieve.
Use a pastry brush to brush some of the warm jam onto one of the chocolate cake oblongs and place a vanilla oblong next to it, sandwiching the jam in the middle.
Brush both tops with jam, then place a vanilla oblong on top of the chocolate. Now brush one side of the remaining chocolate oblong with jam, then place beside the vanilla on top of the other vanilla, gently pressing them together.
You should now have all four strips of sponge, stuck together to form a chequered square.
Brush jam over the marzipan. Now give the assembled cake a good push together, then carefully place it onto the marzipan. Using the baking parchment, slowly roll the cake over, until the cake is encased, and the marzipan joins together.
Now smooth the sides, using the paper to make sure that the marzipan has glued itself to the sponge. Finally, just neaten your cake by cutting off any excess bits of marzipan with a sharp knife, and your cake is ready to serve up to Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood!
The Blackberry Cottage Cook Book
The beautiful Blackberry Cottage recipe book costs £24.99 (inc p&p) and can be bought online here or from an independent bookshop (and will make a lovely Christmas present!)