Coffee cake is a classic. It has been a staple on most cake counters up and down the country for as long as time itself. An institution, if you will. Yet, if I’m honest, it’s not one I’d usually choose. This syrup soaked sponge however, with it’s silky-coffee-cream top isn’t just your standard coffee cake. The recipe is adapted from Henrietta Inman’s book, The Natural Baker, where I’ve substituted some ingredients to avoid the shops or because they are unavailable at the moment, and suggested alternatives so you can do the same. It’s laden with delicious fresh coffee – in the sponge, syrup and the cream so isn’t for the faint hearted.
And it seems coffee cake is the new cake of choice for lockdown baking. Move over banana bread, things are getting serious now.
This makes quite a petit cake as I used 15cm cake tins. If you don’t have tins this size you could make one larger one or make 1 and a ½ times the recipe to make a bigger sandwich cake.
Make your batch of strong coffee first, this will serve all three parts of the recipe – the syrup, the sponge and the icing. Always use fresh water when boiling the kettle for coffee. Once the kettle has boiled, let it sit for 30 seconds so you’re not pouring boiling water over the coffee which can scald it.
8tbsp ground coffee
1 cup boiling water
I used a French press to make the coffee but you could strain it with a fine sieve or muslin if you don’t have one. Pour the water over the coffee, give it a little stir and leave for 5minutes before straining.
Divide into three for each part of your recipe.
Put 1/3 of your fresh coffee plus the same volume of sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil, swirling gently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until syrupy.
-140g flour – (I used brown rice flour and spelt flour as it’s what I had! You could use plain flour -or a mix of plain and wholemeal, or spelt.
-2tsp baking powder
-120g sugar – I used golden caster sugar as it’s what I had, but brown sugar would be nice, or white if it’s all you have
-1tsp vanilla extract if you have it – (I didn’t)
– 80g pumpkin seeds (or crushed walnuts or pecans if you prefer)
-1/3 of your fresh coffee
Pre-heat the oven to 165˚c (fan). Butter two 15cm loose bottom cake tins and pop some baking parchment in the bottom.
Combine the flour, and baking powder and set aside. Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla extract and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then alternate between adding a little flour and little of the egg mixture until all combined. Stir through the nuts or seeds and divide between the two tins. Bake for around 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. When you take the cake/s out of the oven, leave them in their tins and prick them a few times with a skewer, then pour your coffee syrup all over the sponge. Leave to cool.
-150ml Double cream
-200g mascarpone (you could use more double cream)
-1/3 of your fresh coffee
-2 tbsp icing sugar
Stir the icing sugar into the coffee until it has all dissolved. Whip the double cream until it just starts to create firm peaks – be careful not to overwhip as it will become grainy. I always do this by hand as, even though it takes a bit more work, you’re less like to overwhip. Stir in the mascarpone, then gradually stir in the coffee. You want to make sure it doesn’t become too runny to use as icing so you might not need to add all of the coffee mixture, – go by taste and consistency.
Make sure your cake is completely cool before assembling and use half the cream for the middle and half for the top.
Store the cake in the fridge where it will keep for up to five days