I can’t think of anything better in the morning than a large cup of steaming hot, fragrant, strong black coffee. I adore it and have done since a very young age. In the past few years I’ve had to cut back from a good 8+ cups a day to 2 or 3 due to health problems so I appreciate that mug of dark goodness so much more.
However, I can’t think of anything worse than a cake, chocolate, sweet, pastry flavoured with coffee. Let me tell you from this point that this post is not going to be one of these, where the right recipe saves me from missing out on a wonderful baked good. No, no, no, full stop, I hate it!
When I was first asked to make a coffee cake for someone last year, having never tried nor made one before, I set about some recipes. I must have thrown out a good 5 or 6 cakes over 2 days, fully iced I must add, because each one I tasted was just disgusting! Turns out, I just needed someone else to taste it, and alas, the penny dropped, I just don’t like coffee in any form other than that mug of hot morning coffee!
So, my tester (Mat, a fan of all things coffee BUT the hot liquid form!) was very pleased when testing this cake so it has become my go to recipe when any request for the dreaded coffee cake is made. The feedback is very good, I must say. So, I have to trust my consumers and hope they aren’t just being nice – but hey, they do reorder the same cake so it must be good!
The recipe I use today is slightly adapted from the original Delia recipe I first followed, word for word!
Ingredients: Serves 12
For the cake:
A very heaping 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee and 1 slightly heaped tsp hot chocolate powder or cocoa powder mixed with 2 tablespoons boiling water
3 oz (75 g) walnut halves
6 oz (175 g) self-raising flour
1½ level teaspoons baking powder
6 oz (175 g) really soft vegan margarine
6 oz (175 g) golden caster sugar
replacer for 3 eggs
For the syrup:
1/2 level tablespoon instant coffee powder or granules
25g vanilla sugar and 25g demerara sugar or all demerara and 1/2tsp vanilla extract
Buttercream icing made with 125g soft vegan margarine, 250-300g icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract and optional 2tsp coffee mixed with 2tsp boiling water (or more or less coffee to taste). See here for instructions.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/325°F and line the bases of 2 20cm/8 inch cake/sandwich tins.
- Toast the walnuts – spread them on a baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven for 7-8 minutes. After that, reserve 10 of the best looking halves halves to use as decoration later and finely chop the rest.
- Take a very large mixing bowl, put the flour and baking powder in a sieve and sift it into the bowl, then simply add all the other cake ingredients (except the coffee and walnuts) to the bowl and use an electric hand whisk to mix everything together until you have a smooth, well-combined mixture, then fold in the coffee and chopped walnuts until evenly distributed and combined.
- Divide the mixture between the prepared sandwich tins, spreading the mixture around evenly. Place the tins on the centre shelf of the oven and bake them for about 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- While the cakes are cooking you can make up the syrup and the buttercream frosting. For the syrup, first place the coffee and sugar in a heatproof jug, then measure 2 fl oz (55 ml) boiling water into it and stir briskly until the coffee and sugar have dissolved then stir in the vanilla if using.
- When the cakes are cooked, remove them from the oven but leave them in their tins and prick them all over with a skewer while they are still hot then spoon the syrup as evenly as possible over each one and leave them to soak up the liquid as they cool in their tins. When they are absolutely cold, turn them out very carefully and peel off the base papers . Then spread half the filling and topping mixture over the first cake, place the other cake carefully on top and spread the other half over.
- Finally, arrange the reserved walnut halves in a circle all around.