You took the cake right out of my mouth… like a Battenberg out of Hell!
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One of the most popular and most theatrical rock albums ever produced, Bat Out Of Hell, has become a musical, 30 years after its original release. Jim Steinman and Meatloaf’s quintessential collaboration has, most likely, made an appearance in your music collection at some point in your life. What most people don’t know is that many of those songs, including Bat Out Of Hell itself, come from a pre-Meatloaf musical, Neverland, that Steinman workshopped in 1977 to little success (and included an intriguing number called Dance In My Pants). The show incorporated elements of Peter Pan in a post-apocalyptic setting, the plot of which had been reworked for the new show…
Join the eternally young Strat and his wild gang, The Lost, as they roam the streets of Obsidian, a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, ruled by the wicked and tyrannical Falco. When Strat first sets eyes on Falco’s daughter, Raven, who has been locked away in the palace towers, he sets out to rescue her from her evil father’s clutches in a full throttle tale of teenage love, youthful rebellion and living the rock and roll dream.
Well, you took the words right out of my mouth…
The show opened in Manchester in 2017 before transferring to London and then Toronto. The production is now back in London with much of the same cast and has continued to receive rave reviews by mildly surprised critics.
So, what springs to mind when you picture post-apocalyptic dystopian rock’n’roll-inspired food: a Battenberg cake, of course! A staple of traditional English afternoon teas for over a century (owing a lot to a certain Mr Kipling), Battenbergs are traditionally pink and yellow checked and coated in marzipan… not very Hell-like!
I decided that a mix of red velvet and dark chocolate sponge would be a more appropriate look. I’ve based the sponge on Felicity Cloake’s Red Velvet recipe (whose regular column is well worth checking-out when trying to refine a recipe, or pick the best version). You will need a Battenberg cake tin – mine was an 8in x 6in tin, and so I halved the recipe quantities. In a change to the instructions, do not add the food colouring when stated, but follow the rest of the cake mix instructions to the end. Split the batter in two, adding the red food dye to one half and 2-3tbsp extra cocoa powder to the other half (NB make sure you used Dutch processed cocoa powder which, in the UK, it always is). Fill two strips of the tin with the red mix and two with the chocolate mix (fill to about two thirds full). Any leftover mix can be turned into cupcakes!
Bake at 180C for 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin. Once cool, trim off any excess and glue your strips of cake together using raspberry jam. Roll out some white marzipan to a thickness of about 2mm. You will need 20cm by 30cm rectangle. Add a coating of jam to this and wrap the sponge in the marzipan. Trim off the two ends and serve!
Look out for our follow-up recipe, I Would Do Anything For Liver (But I Won’t Eat That).