This cake is moreish, moist and had me (who has the most pathetic of sweet tooth) eyeing up my second piece as I licked the crumbs clean from my greedy fingers after my first piece. Its not as ‘coffee-ey’ as a traditional coffee and walnut sponge but the use of this Percol fine powdered espresso coffee works wonderfully to create a deep coffee background hum. Super fine and smooth and a good way to get your coffee cake hating friends to relish the joys of this treat.
Feel free to experiment a little here with the icing flavour or dried fruit. Figs or prunes would be effective for example instead of dates. Try soaking them in brandy, cognac or even rum first! Try flavourng your icing with cinnamon or cocoa for a mocha effect. However, I feel the icing needs to be coffee flavoured to really bring out the flavour in this cake!
1 small Cake
- 110g unsalted butter
- 220g caster sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 small eggs
- 75g ground almonds
- 100g self raising flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 12g cocoa powder
- 160ml strong coffee (I used Percol espresso powder), cooled slightly
- 65ml buttermilk
- 80g dates, sliced (reserve a few for decoration)
- 250g mascarpone
- 80g sieved icing sugar
- 1 tsp coffee mixed with a splash of boiling water.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line and grease 2 cake tins. I used 2 small 6inch tins so the sponges were fairly thick. Make up the coffee and soak the dates in the hot liquid briefly if you like.
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together until fluffy. Whisk the eggs and vanilla and add, a bit at a time, until combined with the buttercream.
- Sieve together the bicarbonate, flour, almonds and cocoa and fold in to the egg mixture.
- Mix in the cooled coffee and the buttermilk to form a smooth batter and divide equally between the tins.
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 180C°. Bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl beat the mascarpone with the icing sugar and add the coffee. Chill until needed.
- Make the syrup by mixing together about 1 tbsp of coffee with 50ml hot water and a tbsp of caster sugar.
- Once the cakes have cooked, remove from the oven and leave in their tins to cool for 10 minutes or so. Prick the cakes and spoon over the syrup and leave to cool completely.
- Once cooled, they are ready to ice. I could have got away with cutting each of my sponges in half horizontally to make a 4 tiered cake but do as you please. Divide the icing over the sponges.
- Decorate with some slices of dates and some crushed cocoa nibs if you like!