Jubilant Jubilee

Scurrying about the airport with the urgency of a mouse in a maze, darting in between shelves teaming with overpriced knickknacks, there were mere minutes to gather last minute rations before our seven hour flight was due to depart. After hoarding every last piece of fresh fruit in the terminal, only a few pounds and pence still rattled heavily in my pocket and there was still the matter of entertainment to attend to. A diversion, anything to take my weary mind off the mountains of work accumulating at home, was essential to surviving the last leg of this trip. Glancing skyward at the towering stacks of magazines, at the top of the heap lay the answer to my prayers: Vegetarian Living Magazine. No time to double-check the content, it was one last dash to the register and back to the gate before plopping into a rigid, non-reclining, barely-padded seat. I steeled myself for a long ride.

That impulse buy of a magazine turned out to be a boon, both to passing the time and getting my creative wheels spinning. Incredibly, it was there that I found the most fascinating cultural differences, and not just in a few exchanged words and alternate spellings. Jubilee was practically the feature of the entire issue, and yet somehow this event was not one I had ever heard of before. Was it really such a big deal?

Well, when you’re the queen of England for a whole 60 years, yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. The Diamond Jubilee is not exactly an event that comes around every year… Or every century, for that matter. Though I may have been a bit late to get clued in, now I wouldn’t have missed this holiday for anything!

Is there anything more English than the iconic Battenberg cake? Other than fish and chips, perhaps, this elegant tea cake has graced many a plate since its invention back in the late 1800’s for Queen Victoria. Traditionally only four checkered squares of pink and yellow make up the interior design, but I wanted to go all out for this party. Expanding my cake to accommodate a Neapolitan palate, strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla cake meet in a blanket of sweet marzipan, and the whole assemblage is glued together with seedless strawberry jam.

Admittedly, the recipe is not quite ready for prime time, but it certainly was an ideal accompaniment to a spot of English tea. The good news is that it looks far more complicated than it really was to bake, thanks to the aid of a handy checkerboard cake set. After a few more tweaks to achieve fluffier, fuller layers, I’d say that this could be a creation fit for a queen. Hopefully it won’t take me until the next Diamond Jubilee to figure it out!

27 thoughts on “Jubilant Jubilee

  1. If there is anyone who can convert the iconic Battenberg cake to vegan it’s you! Celebrated British baker, Mary Berry has a great, detailed recipe on the BBC website. http://goo.gl/LC9dO The Battenberg was one of the cakes that contestants had to make for the TV show, The Great British Bake Off which I love to watch. Can hardly wait to see yours!

  2. Lovely cake! I lived a good three years in England and I’ve actually never bought this cake in the supermarket during my pre-vegan days! Somehow I wasn’t attracted to, probably because my flatmate would engulf it almost everyday like nobody’s business! lol! I think I might have to try a recipe (or yours when you post it!) for myself now that you’ve reminded me of this! :)

  3. I have ALWAYS wanted to make a battenburg cake but the fear of it not turning out so adorable has always gotten to me. Yours looks perfect!

  4. That looks so intricate and pretty! you have so much patience to create art out of food!
    I have been alternating my votes between your pretty marzipan cake and my ice cream. I hope you win!:))

  5. Battenberg has a special place in my heart. I used to absolutely adore the “Mr Kipling” brand my Mum would buy. It would be fabulous to be able to enjoy a vegan version :)
    I’m a Brit so will be celebrating the Jubilee this weekend!

  6. I love watching BBC English program. Battenberg cake is always mentioned somewhere and I am always curious to see what this cake looks like. Yours is just adorable. I love it. Just what I imagined.

  7. Being a born & bred Englishwoman I can’t say I’m with you on your jubilee “holiday” sentiments – not all of us Brits are so fond of the monarchy, even if 60 years is an impressive stint! Stories like this, amongst others, make some of us less than proud to be British :/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/04/jubilee-pageant-unemployed

    Still, your cake looks stunning and suitable for enjoyment any day of the year! :)

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