Sunday, 24 October 2010

A little Something for the Prince Regent

Doesnt' he look dashing?


Not the cake, the Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent, obviously!

For L and me, nothing comes close the comedy greatness of Blackadder. In the BBCs classic show, there is a little something for everyone; not least of all food jokes. Let's see if I can stir your memories of the show with a couple of our favourite food quotes:

'One thing that puzzles me Baldrick, how did you manage to get so much custard from such a small cat?'

'Whoops Mrs Miggins, you're sitting on my artichokes!'

'Well cover me in eggs and flour and bake me in the oven for 40 minutes.'

And my personal favourite...

Blackadder Baldrick, fix us some coffee, will you ... and try and make it taste slightly less like mud this time.
Baldrick Not easy, I'm afraid, Captain.
Blackadder And why is that?
Baldrick Because it is mud. We ran out of coffee thirteen months ago.
Blackadder So every time I've drunk your coffee since, I have in fact been drinking hot mud.
Baldrick With sugar.
Blackadder Which of course makes all the difference.
Baldrick Well, it would do if we had any sugar. But we ran out New Year's Eve 1915, since when I've been using sugar substitute.
Blackadder Which is?
Baldrick Dandruff.
Blackadder Brilliant.
Baldrick Still, I could add some milk this time - well, saliva.
Blackadder No, thanks, Baldrick. Call me Mr Picky, but I've decided to cancel the coffee.

It will come as no surprise to you to know that not only do we have the box set, but that we can pretty much recite several episodes by heart. Call me sad, but I bet you can do the same for something or other!

My favourite episode is probably ''Captain Cook' from 'Blackadder goes Forth' in which Blackadder volunteers to become the official war artist and is sent out into No Man's Land to sketch the enemy lines. To avoid being ordered to go over the top, Blackadder, Baldrick and George become a trio of Italian chefs and cook up a feast for the General and Captain Darling.

My favourite series however, is Blackadder the Third. I love the lavish costumes, the actors and the upstairs-downstairs theme.

I imagine a prince as silly as the Prince Regent to sit around most of the day entertaining guests and future conquests whilst drinking endless cups of tea and enjoynig the latest fashion in cakes.
Perhaps Battenburg was one of them?

Miniature Battenburg Cakes (adapted from Indulge by Claire Clark)

240g soft unsalted butter
240g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
240g plain flour
10g baking powder
yellow and red food colourings
2/3 jar apricot preserve
75g icing sugar
500g yellow marzipan


Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170C. Grease and line two 25cm x 25cm square tins.
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
Beat the eggs in one at a time with a spoonful of flour with each addition.
Sift the flour and baking powder before folding into the butter mixture in the three stages, trying not to overmix the batter.
Divide the batter evenly between two bowls, weighing them for accuracy.
Add a drop of yellow food colouring to one, and a drop of red food colouring to the other and gently fold each colour in.
Pour the mixtures into each prepared cake tin and bake for 40 - 45 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in the tin.
Once cooled, refridgerate the cakes for at least an hour to firm up a little to be easier for cutting.
Remove the cakes from their tins and peel away the baking paper. Carefully, using a large serrated knife, level the top of the cakes off, making sure that each cake is the same height - mine were 1.5cm high.
Save your cake trimmings for making cake pops at a later date. In the meantime, they will freeze for up to one month in a sealed freezer bag.
Bring the apricot jam to the boil in a small pan and pass it through a sieve to remove any fruit pieces.
Brush the bottom surface of each cake with a little apricot preserve and sandwich together. Trim the four ends off to neaten them up.
Cut the cake into strips to match the height of each cake. As you do this,flip each strip over so that the cut side is up and the sides that were the top and bottom of the cake are either side of the cut section, which will be yellow and pink. Lay the pieces together so that they touch; pink, yellow, pink, yellow. They should all be equal heights and widths at this stage.
Brush hot apricot preserve over the entire surface of the laid out strips. Flip one section over onto the next section to create the four squares. Repeat until all the cake mixture is used up. Cut each long strip in half to create the miniature battenburgs. Trim off the ends so they are nice and tidy.
Dust a work surface with sifted icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to about 3mm thick. Brush the marzipan with the apricot preserve.
Place a sandwiched block of cake close to the edge. Roll the marzipan around the cake and trim to neatly fit the cake. Repeat with all the other miniatures.
To clean the cakes up, take a dry pastry brush and brush off the excess sugar.
Serve with tea to your very poshest friends!

No comments:

Post a Comment