Chocolate Hazelnut Battenberg Cake

There is one classic British cake that I’ve still yet to try and it’s a Battenberg! I took the classic Battenberg cake, which is usually pink and yellow sponges sandwiched together in a checkerboard pattern with jam and covered in a layer of marzipan, and put my typical Andrew in the Kitchen style on it! This is my Chocolate Hazelnut Battenberg Cake!

Instead of pink and yellow sponges, I switch them out for chocolate and hazelnut sponges which also have great colour, but also flavour, contrast and they are sandwiched together with chocolate hazelnut spread. And because I am not a big fan of marzipan, I switch out the marzipan for a chocolate glaze and then I roll the entire glazed cake in chopped hazelnuts to match the cake flavours but also honour the marzipan of the original. With the chocolate glaze, the chocolate hazelnut spread and the chopped nuts, the cake is inspired by Ferrero Rochers but I’d say this cake might even be better than a Ferrero Rocher!

The sponges follow the all in one method and are made using the same base which is split in half and the two different sponge flavours are finished by hand. I bake both of these cake in the same square tin which means you need to prepare the tin in a certain way. It can be a bit fiddly but the most important part is to line up the divide so that it is in the middle of the tin and the sponges are the same size and bake evenly. The best way to make this divide is to fold a long strip of parchment in half and make a fold from the crease that is the height of your tin. If you grease the tin well enough, you should be able to use normal baking parchment and not need foil-lined parchment which some recipes call for, for extra strength.

For the sponges:

  • 210g margarine
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180g self raising flour

For the hazelnut sponge:

  • 75g chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • 25g ground almonds

For the chocolate sponge: 

  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the chocolate glaze:

  • 80g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 15g margarine
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup

For the decoration:

  • 75g chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 100g chopped roasted hazelnuts (there will be some leftover)

Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Grease well the bases and sides of a 20cm square baking tin. Cut a long piece of baking parchment which is 20cm wide and 40cm long. Fold the baking parchment in half lengthways and then fold a divide that is at least the height of your tin. Place the divide in the middle of the tin and press firmly the rest of the baking parchment on the base and up the sides on the tin.

For the cake batters, place the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and self raising flour into a large bowl. Using an electric whisk, beat together all the ingredients until everything just comes together – this could take anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. Transfer half of the cake batter into a separate bowl, either by eye or you can weigh them (the latter of which is preferred here).

To one half, add the ground almonds and the hazelnuts and fold until the batter is evenly mixed. To the other half, sift in the cocoa powder and add the ground almonds and milk and fold until the cake batter is even and well mixed. Spread each of the cake batters into one side of the lined cake tin, making sure they are level.

Bake the sponges for about 20 – 25 minutes until the sponges are risen, the hazelnut sponge has turned golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the sponges comes out clean. Leave the sponges to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cake and lifting out to a cooling rack and removing the parchment to cool fully. When the sponges have cooled down (preferably overnight but wrapped to stay fresh), trim the sponges into 4 even squares, ideally all the same dimensions if possible.

When you are ready to assemble the cake, spread a thin layer of chocolate hazelnut spread on one side of one of the hazelnut sponge rectangles. Stick one of the chocolate sponges to it and press together to help adhere the sponges together. Top the joined sponges with a layer of more chocolate hazelnut spread. Repeat this process with the other chocolate and hazelnut sponge and place the joined sponges on top of the other sponges so that you end up with a checkerboard pattern.

For the chocolate glaze, place the chocolate, margarine and the golden syrup into a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 1 minute, in three 20 second blasts, stirring between each one. The glaze should be spreadable, smooth and glossy. Leave the glaze to cool for about 5 minutes before spreading a thin layer of the glaze on the top and sides of the Battenberg cake.

On a large plate or in a large baking tray, add the chopped hazelnuts. Carefully lift the cake onto the plate with the hazelnuts, placing the cake with one glaze side down so the nuts stick to the glaze. Use your hands to sprinkle and press more nuts onto the other sides with the glaze, regularly turning the cake to ensure the glazed sides are completely covered with nuts. Once done, turn the cake so the non-glazed side is facing upwards. Cover this side with the rest of the glaze and cover with nuts. It is worth taking time to check each side and check there are no empty spots. Place the cake onto a plate and chill the cake for around 1 hour to set the glaze.

Use a serrated knife to trim off the ends of the Battenberg cake and then serve the cake in slices, alongside a cup of tea!

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