It only seems right to start off my new blog with a special family favourite I’ve been baking since goodness knows when: the CAPPUCCINO CAKE.
I put this in capital letters, of course to emphasise just how AMAZING it is. It’s a classic. My mom and dad love their coffee. We recently joined the Tassimo club and it has been full steam ahead ever since. My dad is semi-retired and still seems to have a lot of work on the go; what with consultation work, being part of boards and committees, owning a field to maintain, growing an extraordinary beard and being a professor and all that, he needs his coffee. Mom runs around helping everyone and doing everything, so she needs her energy boosts when she can get them.
So I find that when I have a free afternoon (I seem to have a lot of these post-travelling around the world) I like to bake the family something that they can have a slice of at any time of the day, with a cup of Yorkshire tea – or dare I say it, a coffee – and feel a little bit of relaxation and joy.
This cake really hits the spot. I’ve made so many different variations of it, whilst using the same sponge mix. It is truly timeless. For the full-time coffee lovers, coffee icing or buttercream is a must, for those like my brother who need a bit of milk chocolate to balance out the flavours, switch the coffee essence for melted chocolate, and for those who just want a light and fluffy bite of vanilla to give them that quick fix, vanilla essence is the way forward.
I haven’t even started on decoration. Drizzle melted chocolate over the coffee icing, throw some white chocolate flakes over the milk chocolate icing, or some dark crunchy balls over the vanilla icing: the world is truly your oyster with this one.
Here are some pictures of my variations, and basically my advice is to just have fun with it! ENJOY!
Cappuccino cake (serves 8)
225g margarine (I use a dairy-free, soya based marg)
225g light muscovado sugar
225g self-raising flour (I use a gluten-free equivalent)
2 tbsp of camp coffee essence or 4 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
For coffee icing:
Cream together 120g soft butter with 225g icing sugar. Add 1 tbsp camp coffee essence or 2 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in ½ tbsp hot water. Add more icing sugar/milk accordingly.
For vanilla icing:
See coffee icing and replace the coffee essence with vanilla essence
For chocolate icing:
Melt 225g chocolate with 50g unsalted butter. Add 225g icing sugar and mix. Add more icing sugar/milk accordingly.
For toffee icing:
Melt 55g butter and stir in 110g dark brown sugar. Bring to the boil and boil for around 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and gradually add 3 tbsp milk, stirring all the while. Return to the heat and bring to the boil again. Remove and allow to cool for around 15 minutes. Stir in 200g icing sugar and beat until smooth and cool/thick enough to spread. Add more icing sugar/milk accordingly.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease the baking tins
- Beat together the margarine and sugar
- Add 1 egg at a time with a spoonful of flour, then add all the remaining flour and coffee essence
- Beat until smooth and divide the mixture evenly between tins
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge springs back when gently pressed
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely
- Meanwhile to make the icing, mix the butter and icing sugar together, then add the coffee essence (see different instructions for chocolate/vanilla icing)
- Spread the icing onto the top of one cake and sandwich the other on top and use the remaining mix for the top and sides. Decorate as desired!
Today I decided to use a cappuccino sachet (this created a milky/frothy texture and more mild flavour) – this is completely optional – you can use coffee essence or granules instead!
For the Toffee Buttercream: