Cake

Rubik’s Battenberg

July 12, 2011

Update: On July 14th, two days after posting I received an email from Ernő Rubik himself saying that he liked my cake. I guess the world is really a very small place.

‘ Thanks for the nice birthday surprise which sweetens the bitterness of passing time.’

Hungarian Ernő Rubik invented the Rubik’s cube in 1974.  He was born on the 13th of July, 1944. Myself and my other half set about making a birthday cake, worthy of the great man himself. Battenberg cakes are constructed of rectangular pieces of alternatively coloured Victoria sponge cake, sandwiched together by jam and held together with walls of marzipan. We decided that the different pieces of cake could by dyed the traditional six colours of the Rubik’s cube – white, red, blue, orange, green and yellow. Then to make the cake a little more Rubik’s like, we decided to have each slice of the cake reveal a different combination of coloured squares, just like a Rubik’s cube. To achieve this, we cut the coloured rectangles of sponge into different lengths. This was definitely a case where I needed the engineering mind of my other half to figure out the maths of this cake. It took a little planning to get it right, however I think it might just be a worthy birthday treat. I’m not sure if Ernő has a sweet tooth but hopefully he might enjoy this puzzling cake.

We wanted to add some flavour to the cakes and not have it all just taste of plain old sponge cake.  So we flavoured the yellow sections of sponge with some grated lemon rind, the orange sections with orange rind and the pale sponge with almond essence.  We had contemplated having all the colours taste of something different, for example flavour the green one mint and the red one strawberry. But we decided against it in the end, as there would be too many overwhelming flavours. So we stuck with just the orange, lemon and almond which complimented each perfectly.

We essentially had to make three cakes which amounted to a whole pound of butter and over a jar of jam. It also took a lot of time to physically bake three cakes and wait for them to cool. But it was fun and I got a sort of childish glee when I saw all these multicoloured sections of cake coming out of the oven. Once the cake pieces had cooled, it was time for the grand assembly. We totally underestimated how much jam we would actually need to cement the whole thing together. But we eventually figured it all out. I began by rolling out a large sheet of marzipan which acted as a blanket to contain the bricks of cake.

 

The cakes were then measured and cut into pieces before being glued together with sticky blackcurrant jam. We did it slowly, layer by layer. It was cool seeing it all come together like a house of cake. We then wrapped the marzipan around our masterpiece and stuck it together with yet more sticky jam! We let it settle overnight and cut it the next day.

When I brought this cake into work people really didn’t what to make of it. It certainly caught people’s eye. Weirdly people ate cubes of it rather than slices which I thought was rather a nice way to eat cake. I think this cake would go down a storm at a kid’s party. However, I’m  a kid from the eighties, so maybe it appeals more to big kids from my generation than kids of today.

Here’s how:

One Basic Battenberg

– 6 oz. of butter
– 6 oz. of castor sugar
– 3 eggs
– 6oz of self-raising flour
– few drops of food colouring (I used red, orange, green, blue and yellow)

(You will to make three basic Battenberg cakes for the Rubiks, using  two colours per cake)

To finish

– I large pot of blackcurrant jam sieved
– 18oz of plain white marzipan to cover the entire cake.
– 2oz of icing sugar

For the yellow coloured cake, I added the grated rind of half a lemon. For the orange coloured cake I used the grated rind of half an orange. Finally for the plain sponge I used a few drops of almond essence and no food colouring to represent the white squares.

Pre-heat the oven 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a Battenberg/ deep rectangular tin. My Battenberg tin was 8inches x 6inches and had 4 individual sections to put the different colours. If you are doing a cake of this size, it’s advisable to invest in a Battenberg tin as it makes the process very easy.

Cream together the butter and the sugar until it becomes light and creamy. Gradually add the beaten eggs. Then, carefully fold in the sieved flour. Take half of the mixture out, and place in another bowl. Add a few drops of food colouring to one batch. To the other half, add a few drops of a different food colouring. Spoon the mixture into the separate sections of the tin. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. To test if it’s ready place a clean knife through the centre, the knife should come out clean when it is fully cooked. If the cake rises over the tin, use a serrated knife to even off the top. Let the cake cool in the tin, once fully cooled, remove from the tin and place on a wire rack.

Repeat twice using the same method, ingredients and remaining food colours.

Once all the cakes are fully cool, you can now prepare to assemble. Place the jam in a saucepan and warm over a low heat. Next, sieve the warm jam into a seperate bowl.

Sprinkle the icing sugar onto a clean work surface. Place the marzipan on the surface and roll out to an even thickness. I rolled mine into a longer rectangle that I needed and cut off the excess at the end. With a pastry brush, paint the underside of the cake pieces with the warmed jam and continue building until all the cake has been used. Finish the top with another layer of jam before folding the marzipan over the cake and sealing the edges. Trim off the excess.

76 Comments

  • Reply Catherine July 12, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Best. Cake. Ever!

    • Reply Vicky July 12, 2011 at 11:53 am

      Thank Catherine, I was kind of worried that would taste horrible, but it was in fact yummy. As an alternative, I’m thinking nutella next instead of jam!

  • Reply Nelius Phelan July 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

    This was great fun to make 🙂

  • Reply Emma Louise July 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Whoooaa…that is pretty cool!

  • Reply A Kitchen Muse July 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

    That cake looks so festive and fun! Yummy too!

  • Reply Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen July 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Impressive! A cake engineering success. Buzz!

  • Reply Rachel Evans July 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    This looks amazing! Great work!

  • Reply Bridget Carroll July 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    This looks so gorgeous! And delicious as well. Bravo!

  • Reply Kelly July 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    What a GREAT idea!!! This looks so cute and super delicious!! 🙂

  • Reply Susie July 13, 2011 at 12:14 am

    This cake looks like so much fun.

  • Reply Ann July 13, 2011 at 1:17 am

    That is incredible! SO creative and tasty looking! I buzzed this one!

    • Reply Vicky July 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      Thanks Ann. I loved making it, I felt like a child again 🙂

  • Reply Gillian Quinn July 15, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Absolutely amazing Vicky and Nelius!! great achievement 😉

    • Reply Vicky July 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks Gill, hope to see you guys soon.

  • Reply Hester Casey - Alchemy in the Kitchen July 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Great idea for a cake! Almost too good to eat!

    • Reply Vicky July 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Yeah, it was a bit heart-breaking to have to break it all up. At least I still have the pictures:)

  • Reply A Rubik’s Cube Battenberg Style Cake July 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    […] a tribute to Ernö Rubik, inventor of 1980s iconic toy puzzle Rubik’s Cube. By providing the recipe and detailed assembly directions on her blog, McDonald assures there will be no enigma on how to make this cake at home. Hungarian Ernö Rubik […]

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    […] a tribute to Ernö Rubik, inventor of 1980s iconic toy puzzle Rubik’s Cube. By providing the recipe and detailed assembly directions on her blog, McDonald assures there will be no enigma on how to make this cake at home. Hungarian Ernö Rubik […]

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  • Reply Angela July 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Very cool cake!

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  • Reply Cake Appreciation Society July 24, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Congratulations and well done! We’ve shared your amazing cake with the Cake Appreciaiton Society.

  • Reply A Colorful Rubik’s Cube Birthday Cake For Geeks | Powerblog July 24, 2011 at 8:48 am

    […] too pretty to eat! The best part about it is that after she published her recipe (which you can get here), Rubik sent her an email which said, “Thanks for the nice birthday surprise which sweetens […]

  • Reply How-To: Rubik’s Cube Battenburg Cake July 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

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  • Reply Liz Vos July 24, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Great idea! I am not that creative but I would like to share the link with our readership, would that be ok?

  • Reply Arturo Rosillo July 25, 2011 at 12:01 am

    I translated your recipee of the wonderful rubik’s cake. Thank you from all the speedcuber community.

    http://www.rubikmexico.com/t2665-tutorial-para-hacer-un-pastel-rubik-tipo-battenberg

    • Reply Vicky July 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Wow, thanks for translating it 🙂 That’s exactly the type of tin I used. Glad to bring some sweetness to the speedcuber community.

      • Reply CC Evans July 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm

        Finally got round to reading this properly…. soooo impressed….you and Neilus are Team Genius!xxx

        • Reply Vicky August 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

          Thanks Cee. Hope you, Neil and Lily are doing well. xxx

  • Reply Rubik’s Cube Birthday Cake | Rungmasti --- Have masti With Colors July 25, 2011 at 5:53 am

    […] pretty to eat! The best part about it is that after she published her recipe (which you can get here), Rubik sent her an email which said, “Thanks for the nicebirthday surprise which sweetens the […]

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    Totally Awesome cake, I want to bake it..

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  • Reply Aoife Mc July 29, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Oh. My. Wow.

    *makes amazed face*

    This may be the most amazing cake that has ever been made. And Erno got in touch to say he liked the cake?!?

    *mind explodes*

    WOAH!

    • Reply Vicky July 29, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Thanks Aoife. It was such a fun project and even better when I heard from Erno Rubik. Lovely catching up with you last night. Perhaps see you in Dingle in October.

  • Reply Kristin July 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Just one word – RESPECT! I read your instructions for how to make it and am seriously impressed, spreadsheet and all! x

    • Reply Vicky July 29, 2011 at 8:38 pm

      Thanks Kristin. I have to credit Nelius with the spreadsheet! He’s the geek and I’m the mere cook 🙂 We make a good team I guess.

  • Reply Silke August 3, 2011 at 11:51 am

    That cake is just great! I have a German cake delivery service (Kuchenversand) – should we start selling the Rubik? 😉 Thanks so much for showing this…

    • Reply Vicky August 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      Wow, your cakes loook amazing 🙂 Please send me a photo if you do ever make one. Thanks.

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  • Reply Tom August 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    This makes me SOOO glad to be an 80`s kid.
    Not only because of the (frustrated, so what) memories of the puzzle – but also because with this – i can have my revenge :):)

  • Reply Simon Silverwood August 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Brilliant idea: almost as imaginative as the original cube, and Ernő’s endorsement really is the icing on the cake!

    As designer and manufacturer of the Battenberg pan, I would like to add my compliments to the growing list of well-deserved accolades. Your cake shows great creativity and admirable attention to the fine detail – teamwork at its very best.

    Simon Silverwood

    • Reply Vicky August 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks Simon, I’m honoured to hear from you and delighted that you approve of my Rubik’s Battenberg cake. I couldn’t have done it without your brilliant tin 😉

  • Reply Aoife Mc August 10, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I still can’t believe you made this cake!

    *MIND EXPLODES AGAIN*

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    • Reply Vicky August 25, 2011 at 11:14 am

      Thanks for making my cake. Hope it tasted good 🙂

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    parecido hay algo?
    http://eru1.myftp.biz/

    coolman

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