Damp Mocha Cake.
So today marks the Macmillan Coffee Morning, aimed to raise as much funds and awareness for the fantastic work that Macmillan Cancer Support offer. It’s a great opportunity to support the charity in all that it does to offer relief, support and guidance to those suffering with cancer, as well as those connected. As well as uniting communities across the country, Macmillan’s Coffee Morning’s are a great, simple and fun way to contribute towards the services of Macmillan and help be a part of the support structure the UK can offer to those suffering.
So if you’re stuck for your next coffee morning what to bake? I may have the answer for you right here in the form of a cake. I want to start right away by pledging my allegiance to coffee. Those who opt for the green teas or the Zen macha stuff… I admire your pluck and how you manage to lie to yourselves every day. But alas, in a bid to pledge my eternal love for coffee in the only way I know how and to offer you a sweet treat to bake for any event, I wrote a recipe. I rooted an entire cake to a whole mug of coffee… without it technically even being a coffee cake. And here I share it. Aren’t you lucky?
Coffee plays an integral part in my function as a human in modern society. Both personally and professionally. I credit a lot of my professional landmarks and nearly all of my personal stability to the function of coffee. I drink instant Alta Rica at my desk and at home I brew my own in those cute little stove top burners. The blends I use range from good Columbian all the way to basic breakfast – but at the moment I am drinking a Caramel bean that I picked up at Cardiff’s Food Festival. I’m writing this away from home and can’t recall the name… I will update when I get home.
So it is with a whole hearted salute do I thank the world for the coffee bean. I once recall a former housemate and I during our University days (Helen – may we always remember this ridiculous moment) when we decided to cut coffee cold-turkey in a bid to ‘make better choices’. Better choices, they said. Cut to us knuckle dragging our way to University with throbbing headaches and a desire to end it all. Never again will I disrespect coffee that way. It’s a part of my life and it will stay that way forever.
I will now 100% honest with you and say I cannot bare a coffee cake. Well… I can’t bare what some of you CALL a coffee cake, to put it more accurately. Making a Victoria sponge, some butter icing with some instant coffee powder in it with some beans scattered on top is not a coffee cake. Nor is adding some coffee to a regular sponge batter a coffee cake. The coffee gets burnt to a crisp in the oven and you’re left essentially with a dirty Victoria sponge and a slight hint of Kenco. Gross.
This recipe here, however, is what I call a coffee cake because it put real brewed, hot coffee right into the heart of the cake. I call it a Mocha cake because it combines the beautiful trinity of coffee, chocolate and cinnamon – but I will say if you’re not the biggest fan of cinnamon, just do away with it and don’t replace it. I have a friend who took this recipe and replaced it with nutmeg and lived to regret it. It won’t work. I’ll also go as far as to say if you can’t brew your own coffee (even though my burner was literally £4 from ASDA) I guess you could just make a really strong cup of instant black coffee and add cinnamon to it but… that’s your amendment to make.
I must say that I didn’t use flour in this recipe because I did not want to taint the taste of the coffee but what this does give the cake eventually though, is a damp (hence the name) squidgy moist, almost Brownie like, consistency so if you’re looking for a sponge-style cake – look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a heart-warming, soaking wet coffee cake… please continue.
In a stovetop coffee burner, brew yourself 170ml of coffee. For those who have never used one, you basically unscrew the whole contraption and pop water in the bottom section. Put the little funnel into the bottom section and add your coffee. For this recipe, I use 1 tablespoon of Columbian coffee and then a small pinch of cinnamon. Screw the top onto this (the part with the spout, basically) and then drop it on your hob on a low-ish heat and allow it to gently push the coffee up through the burner. You’ll know when the magic is happening because you’ll smell it.
Once there is no more coffee being pushing up through the burner, remove from the heat and pour 170ml worth into a measuring jug. Use whatever is left to make yourself a nice cup of coffee to drink while you bake. Do this by pouring it into a mug, top up with boiling hot water and add milk. Whatever you do – don’t throw it away. Coffee down a sink is a heart-breaking visual.
Now let’s bake. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease/line a 23 inch spongiform tin. All baking recipes start this way so don’t roll your eyes at me. Grab your food processor. Yes… I’m being lazy. Throw in 300g of dark chocolate (any kind) along with 220g of white sugar and press the button to create a rubbly sugar/chocolate sand mixture before adding 220g of butter and a pinch of smoked sea salt – or if you don’t have any, some regular Maldon sea salt.
Now grab yourself a big old bowl and separate 6 egg yolks from their whites. You can do this using the shells as cups but I’m an animal and use my hands. You do this by cracking the egg over a bowl and gently pouring the white of the egg into it before cradling the yolk and gently (and I mean gently!) passing the yolk from palm to palm so all the white drips into the bowl and the yellow stays in your palm. Once fully separated, throw the yolk into the processor and leave the white in the big bowl. Do this for all six.
So now to your processor of chocolate, sugar and butter pour in your 170ml of brewed coffee. Don’t worry – your mixer won’t overflow. Unless you have a small mixer. If you do… they’re no good throw it away and sorry if I’ve flooded your kitchen. Drop in two teaspoons of vanilla extract before blitzing everything again to a dark, creamy wet paste.
Now here’s the fun part. Grab yourself a whisk and beat the living hell out of the eggs whites. I don’t have flour in this recipe so we need to get our lift from somewhere and I choose egg whites. Keep whisking your eggs whites until they stiffen (giggles) and when you pull your whisk out it creates soft peaks. If you’re even lazier than I, feel free to do this with a hand held whisker however as this cake is so damn easy to bake I feel as though I need to stir or whisk at least one thing. I chose the eggs.
Once the egg whites have become stiff, white peaks – pour the chocolatey ‘batter’ into the bowl and fold everything with a spoon until it has all combined. Slide this into the oven for about an hour or just under – it’s going to fold and almost look like it’s collapsing but it won’t. It’s a beautifully rustic looking cake with a moist, squidgy texture that is so more-ish.
Once you pull it out of the oven and a skewer comes out clean when prodded, leave it to cool slightly for about 20 minutes before removing the sides of the spring form, my recommendation is to shove it in the fridge until it cools all the way down and is cold. This cake is fantastic straight from the fridge. You can do what you want with the top but I choose to spread it with just crème fraiche and then grate over some more chocolate.
With this cake you can celebrate International Coffee Day every day and any day. It keeps for about a week in the fridge and I swear, it won’t last that long if you have a house full. I made this for family and I didn’t even have enough time to take an ‘official’ picture of the finished product, hence why the picture is a makeshift picture of it sitting on someone’s plate. Visitors will be ruthless is getting their hands on it.
I dedicate this recipe to Macmillan Cancer Support, in a hope that in some small way I can contribute to the conversation and assist in the awareness raising. The support they give from diagnosis right through treatment is extremely inspiring and needs as much support in return as we can give. Support for the supporters is integral to our fabric as a unit society so any help you can give is worth the time. Please see more information here about how you can get involved:
I also want to shout out Holly Lloyd, a lovely young blogger with a blog you can read right here —> http://www.culturegreens.wordpress.com who I know is a coffee addict such as I. I keep missing the chance to give her a coffee based recipe so here you go Holly – may your work weeks be short and your coffee be damp, mocha and in cake form!