Sunday, March 25, 2018

Baker's Corner: Chocolate Coffee Cake with a Mocha Whipped Cream Frosting

Don't judge me based on this rich and indulgent recipe okay? For those following me on Facebook and Instagram you would know that I am still faithfully committed to my weightloss journey with a 5kg reduction since the start of this year (not too bad, eh?). I've doubled my intake of water and fruits, tripled my intake of whole grains and veggies and drastically cut down on refined sugar and processed foods. I'm still tossing up salads galore and trying to make conscious and healthy substitutions during every meal preparation (except on weekends of course 😛). I solemnly swear that I will be back with some delicious and healthy savoury recipes soon but for now, I have another sweet bake for you! 

This post is a prelude to my previous post. Earlier this month, it was my  husband's birthday and I thought I'd be a Stepford wife and bake him a nice cake 😆 I asked him if he would like a fruit-based cake, a chocolate cake or a coffee flavoured cake and his almost immediate reply was that he would prefer either a chocolate cake or a coffee cake. Since chocolate and coffee compliment each other brilliantly (the coffee making the chocolate taste richer, darker and more intense), I decided to pair both flavours together in my cake. I knew for sure that I didn't want to go the buttercream route so I zeroed in on whipped cream. I am intimidated by whipped cream and usually steer clear of it when it comes to cakes so I was determined to get it right this time. The week before his birthday, I browsed through several recipes, jotted down proportions, made notes and outlined the recipe I was going to try out. 

Turns out that the previous day of his birthday I started to feel feverish right from the time I woke up in the morning. It was unfortunate timing since I had actually planned to bake the cake and make the frosting that evening so I could decorate the cake and stash it in the fridge the next day before I left for work. So, after getting home from work that day, I ended up doing nothing and instead lay bundled up on the couch in a thick jumper and an even thicker quilt because I couldn't stop my teeth chattering from the chills in the midst of a blazing fever. To make things worse, a bout of coughing fits and a terrible sore throat completely put me out of commision. I had even lost my voice so a few indistinct croaks was all I could manage in the name of communication. Looking at my woebegone state, my husband cancelled the dinner reservations we had made for his birthday. He spent the rest of the evening taking charge of the household and looking after the kids while I could get the rest I so desperately needed. 

The next morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn feeling even worse than the day before. Fantastic right?! 😒 I knew there was no way I could go to work so I quickly texted my boss that I would be calling in sick. A session of steam inhalation, salt water gargling, a visit to the GP, 5-6 different kinds of medications, a few lozenges and copious amounts of hydration later, I started to feel marginally better. While the kids were at school I even took a nap and by afternoon the fever had subsided, I was in better spirits and able to converse in an audible language as opposed to frantic gesticulations. 

Racked with guilt that I put a damper on his birthday plans (not that he was even bothered!), I decided to go ahead with the birthday cake. I felt like it was the least I could do. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had a stash of mouth masks and latex gloves in my medicine cabinet and began to make the cake with my protective (albeit ridiculous) garb on. It is another matter that I looked more like a surgeon than a baker 😝 But then again, I couldn't afford the risk of spraying the birthday boy's cake with a cocktail of my nasty germs, could I?

In the end, the cake turned out to be quite the success story - the cake itself was very easy to make, the consistency and flavour of the whipped cream frosting came out better than I expected, the frosting and piping didn't take me any time at all and the cake was chocolatey, perfumed with coffee, dense and moist at the same time without being too sweet. Everyone gave it the thumbs up. And most importantly, no one fell violently ill after eating my cake! 😂

So for all the efforts I took to make this cake, don't you think you should be a dear and try out the recipe? And remember, reader feedback is important to me so please leave a comment if you do 😊

Here's to chocolate and coffee.....the two great loves of my life!

Chocolate Coffee Cake with a Mocha Whipped Cream Frosting

Preparation time: 30 mins
Baking time: 30 mins
Assembling & Decoration time: 20-30 mins
Total time: ~ 90 min
Servings: 10 -12
Adapted from: Alida Ryder's recipe


For the Chocolate Coffee Cake:
275 gm plain/all-purpose flour
300 gm caster sugar
50 gm unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp bicorbonate of soda or baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
100 gm melted butter
2 eggs
250 ml 1 cup buttermilk (refer notes)
250 ml 1 cup hot coffee (refer notes)

For the Mocha Whipped Cream Frosting:
1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, keep refrigerated
5 tbsp icing sugar 
4 tbsp cocoa powder 
2 tsp instant coffee powder 
1/4 tsp salt 
1 tsp vanilla extract 


Making the cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and grease and line (very important) 2x 8-inch (20cm) cake pans.

2. In a large bowl, sift together and whisk all the dry ingredients.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. The batter will be quite runny. Don't worry - that is how it is supposed to be.

5. Divide the batter equally between the two cake pans.

6. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. 

7. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Preparing the frosting: 

1. In a bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, coffee powder, salt and icing sugar. From the 1.5 cups of cream, add about 6 tbsp to the sifted ingredients and mix to make a smooth and lump-free paste.

2. Transfer the paste to a chilled mixing bowl, add the rest of the whipping cream and vanilla and whisk it for 5 minutes or so, increasing the power every 1.5 to 2 minutes till you see stiff peaks. Be careful not to over whip!

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this step!

3. Refrigerate the frosting if you are not using it immediately. 

Assembling the cake: 

1. Trim both cakes with a knife (if they have rounded tops) until they are flat on both sides. Set one layer on a plate.

2. Evenly spread about ⅓ of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake as uniformly as possible.

3. Pipe some of the frosting along the outer edge of the cake using any nozzle you fancy.

4. Place the frosted cake back into the fridge for at least 15 minutes before you begin to decorate the cake further. 

5. I sprinkled some dark chocolate shavings and placed a few maltasers in the centre but you could decorate it any way you want. Dust with icing sugar, use chopped nuts, chocolate vermicelli, chocolate shavings or coffee-flavoured  chocolate malt balls.

  • To make your own buttermilk, add 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk (preferably full cream). Let it stand at room temperature for 5-10 mins. Once you see curdled bits in it, it is ready to be used in the recipe as it is
  • The hot coffee refers to black coffee (no milk or sugar). I used my Bialetti moka pot to brew my own strong coffee and then diluted it to 250ml. Another alternative is - you can add 1 tbsp instant coffee powder to 250ml hot water
  • Make sure the bowl and whisk that you use to whip the cream are kept chilled prior to use. It really makes a difference!
  • Taste the whipped cream frosting and adjust the instant coffee based on your liking (you could add 1 tsp more if you like a more intense coffee flavour). But add too much and the frosting will go bitter


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