Thursday, October 8, 2015

Baker's Corner: Coffee Fudge Cake

I'm an aunt! Whoop!

I mean, my cousins have kids and all so technically I was already an aunt but it is the first time I have become an aunt from a birth in my immediate family. My little sister delivered a bouncing baby boy yesterday. I am now a 'doddamma' (elder mother) and my little ones have become older sisters.....what fun!

In Indian culture, sweets are distributed to family and friends on happy and festive occasions. Since I consider my readers as my extended family, I decided I would share something sweet with you all today. This post is dedicated to my adorable nephew.  Little dude....I promise that I'll try to be a cool aunt to you

It's been a few months since I've featured a sweet bake on the blog. Not that I haven't been donning my oven mitts but my last few sweet bakes needed more fine tuning before meeting my stamp of approval to appear on the blog. Whenever I feel like my brain is stagnating with the mundaneness of routine life, I turn to baking for a welcome respite. It works like a charm every time!

I was thinking of getting cozy with my kitchenaid and mixing bowls a few weeks ago and it turned out to be perfect timing. I was expecting some friends home, the time frame of which coincided with the husband returning from a business trip to China. It goes without saying that baking a cake would make a lot of people happy. In times of dire baking need, the only person I turn to for a recipe is the Queen of Cakes, Mary Berry. I have tried several of her recipes and they have never failed me to date.

There’s nothing overly fussy or complicated about this recipe.  It comes together easily and bakes up beautifully, making it a great addition to your go-to baking line up. Most cake recipes instruct you to cream the butter and the sugar so thoroughly that it becomes almost white. This vigorous process helps to get air into the mixture and yields a lighter result. Other recipes by contrast, use the all-in-one method which is to dump all the ingredients in one bowl and beat it. This recipe belongs to the latter category so it is easy and requires lesser effort. Note that you need to use self-raising flour and additional baking powder for adequate leavening to occur. I have stopped buying self-raising flour from the store because the raising effect deteriorates over time and in the past, I have had a bag sitting in my pantry for way too long. I prepare self-raising flour at home (refer notes) so that I am sure that the desired effect is achieved. Just make sure that the baking powder you are using is fresh.


Walnuts and coffee are a match made in heaven. The bitterness of the coffee contrasts the intense sweetness of the butter icing remarkably. Keep in mind though that the icing (fudge topping) on this cake is pretty sweet so if that is not your cup of tea, you may just stick to baking the cake and skip the icing all together. Personally speaking, I love icing so I don't mind it at all. The addition of salt and coffee essence does help to counter the sweetness but not by too much. Methinks as long as each generous bite of cake has a little bit of icing along with it, it isn't too much to handle.

This recipe is a keeper and I'm sure I will be making this cake again. Now off you go and make it for yourself and your loved ones!

Coffee Fudge Cake

Preparation time: 10 min
Baking time: ~35 min
Total time: 45 min
Recipe Level: Easy
Makes: One 8-inch square cake; 16 pieces
Recipe source: Adapted from Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

Ingredients:

For the sponge:
150gm soft unsalted butter
150gm caster sugar
200gm self-raising flour
11/4 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp coffee essence

For the fudge topping:
40gm soft butter
100gm light muscovado sugar (I didn't have light so I used dark muscovado)
2 tbsp milk
250gm icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp coffee essence
25gm walnuts, chopped


Method:

1. Keep all your ingredients ready and let the butter and eggs come to room temperature.

I know that I keep reiterating this in every baking post and it may sound a bit pedantic but trust me when I say that it helps a great deal!


2. Grease a 30 x 23 cm (12 x 9 in) traybake or roasting tin then line the base with baking parchment


3. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. 

4. Measure all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat for about 2-3 min until well blended



5. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top


6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin


7. To make the fudge topping, place the butter, sugar, salt and milk in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves stirring occasionally. Then boil briskly for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the icing sugar and coffee essence. Beat thoroughly until smooth. 




8. Spread immediately and evenly over the cold cake using a palette knife, then decorate with the  chopped walnuts and cut into 16 pieces




Notes:

  • While it is best to use coffee essence in terms of flavour and colour, you can substitute two teaspoons of instant coffee dissolved in one tablespoon of hot water for each tablespoon of coffee essence
  • You can use brown sugar if muscovado sugar is not available but keep in mind that you will not get the same result because muscovado sugar has a fudgy and caramelly taste which works really well in this icing. Using light muscovado gives the fudge topping a much lighter color which is visually more appealing
  • To make self-raising flour at home, sift 150gm plain flour with 1.5 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. In this particular recipe, I sifted 200gm plain flour with 2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt
  • To make icing sugar at home, add 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 tbsp cornstarch in a blender or food processor and pulse/blend until it becomes a fine powder
  • The fudge topping thickens within seconds after you take it off the heat so do not waste even a second to top the cake with it. Keep the cake standing by so you can pour the mixture over the cake immediately. I cannot stress enough how important this is
  • If you don't want to scatter the chopped walnuts in a haphazard manner over the fudge topping, you can arrange whole walnuts or walnut halves in a pattern of your choice
  • Instead of walnuts, you can also use almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts or hazelnuts but I feel walnuts work the best
  • You can store the cake in a cool dry place for a few days. Since I live in hot and humid Singapore, I stored mine in the refrigerator. The cake does go hard but popping it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds, turns it soft and fluffy again


Cheers,


1 comment:

  1. Congrats on being an aunt.
    Your coffee fudge cake looks yummy (especially the top layer in the sliced section)

    ReplyDelete

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