f you are, like me, an appreciator of all things coffee in flavour then this cake is certainly one to test out on a cold Sunday afternoon for a crowd that need pleasing. And more specifically a mother! (Happy Mother’s Day!) I’ll admit I’m no coffee nerd but even those that can pour a perfect patterned topped latte will love you for this moist sponge cake. I think many people these days are intimidated by baking with a preconcieved idea that it is difficult due to the eleborate disguise of the 21st century decoration, intricate piping and macaroon topped bakes. However like most cakes, the baking bit is extremely easy! Mix and combine. How you choose to refine your decoration is up to you. I don’t seem to have a natural knack for it sadly and my piping skills are far from successful on most attempts so this weekend I abandoned the fancy piping bag in place of the palate knife and went for a more welcomed rustic and homemade visual. It won’t win any show stopper rounds thats for sure but its all about the taste and texture…
This cake is based on a Delia classic. The sponge and syrup recipe have been taken from her ‘How to Cook – Book One’ with just a few adaptations in the ‘forage in the pantry’ style.
Sponge and Icing
- 1 1/2 tbsp coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water
- 75g walnuts
- 175g self raising flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 175g softened butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 250g mascarpone
- 8 tbsp sieved icing sugar
- Handful of chopped toasted hazelnuts
- Optional – 1 tbsp Frangelico/Amaretto
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
- 50g demerara sugar
- 55ml boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease and line two cake tins (18cm/20cm wide. No bigger than 20cm)
- Toast the walnuts in a dry pan or hot oven for a few minutes until fragrant then set aside. Once cool, chop roughly.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the butter, sugar and eggs and mix until smooth and shiny. Add the coffee and combine well.
- Finally fold in the chopped walnuts then divide the mixture into the two tins, spreadably evenly and flattening out the tops.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Meanwhile make the syrup. Combine the sugar and coffee in a jug before adding the boiling water. Stir continuously and thoroughly until he sugar has dissolved fully. Set aside until needed.
- Next make the icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl before beating in the mascarpone cheese. Add the liquor of choice if using and beat until smooth. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts, leaving some for scattering over the top. Taste and add more icing sugar if you like it a little sweeter.
- Once the cakes are cooked remove from the oven and prick all over with a cocktail stick or similar.
- Pour the syrup over both cakes until evenly absorbed. I find this is best done a spoonful at a time to avoid overflow.
- Leave to cool completely.
- When cool, remove from the tins and turn out onto a wire rack. For the base you’ll need the most even and flat looking cake. You may need to slice off the rounded top in order to get this but this little syrupy slice is an ideal tester!
- Place this onto a plate or cake stand and spoon over half the mascarpone smoothing out with a palate knife.
- Top with the second cake and the rest of the mascarpone.
- Scatter with any remaining nuts and a sprinkling of cocoa powder