Making a fake cake

IA real Battenbergn the production of Rainbow Kiss, a Battenberg Cake figures prominently however it’s never eaten. Now, the battenberg is very specific in look, with a checkerboard of pink and white visible in every slice. While it’s very common in the UK, it’s something of a specialty item here, so I asked the director if it would be all right to have a fake one rather than a perishable one. Thank heavens he’s quite reasonable and saw the sense in that.

Sponges for Battenberg
Appropriately, the Battenberg is a sponge cake so. I got two shop sponges and cut them into the pieces for the checkerboard. I dyed two of them pink, using food coloring, and left two the color of the sponge.

assembling the battenbergReal Battenberg is held together with apricot jam. I used a mix of vinyl wallpaper paste and acrylic paint to get that gelatinous orange quality.

Clamping the battenberg
As the sponges absorbed moisture from the paste, they swelled. To keep them from separating, I used a good old fashioned c-clamp. Later, when I needed to apply equal pressure over the whole thing, I wrapped the cake in masking tape, which I left in place for the next phase.

The iced cake Icing the cake. Mm… looks yummy, right? If that were real, it’d be covered in marzipan. As it is, it’s a lovely confection of gloss gel medium, modeling paste and a touch of raw sienna for that almond tint. The final product took forever to dry, even with a fan on it.

See, the exterior of the icing dried quickly, but it sealed the surface, so the rest of the moisture wicked inside the sponge and could only evaporate out the ends. When it finally set, I used an electric carving knife to cut slices.

Apparently I made a monster Battenberg. The real ones are about half the size of mine. At least, the commercially available ones are. One of the actresses reassured me that homemade or bakery ones are big like mine. Whew. It’s hard to tell from online photos how large they are, you know? I was estimating based on the recipes and how thick American cakes are. I should have known better, since we tend to supersize things.

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