Sunday, February 3, 2013

Espresso Cake

I used to drink coffee everyday. I wouldn’t call myself a java junkie, I don’t have to start my day with caffeine, though I do enjoy a latte with lots of silky foam on top. When my dad was here to visit over the holidays, he got me hooked on to black tea with milk. He made it over the stove, throwing in two bags of tea into the simmering water, and since he has a heavy hand when it comes to anything sweet, he went through a litre of raw, unpasteurized honey fairly quickly. If you peeked into the jar, you would find craters of honey where he scooped up the golden liquid.

It doesn’t taste the same when I make it, though that is most likely because of love and affection that goes into making cups of tea for my mom and me. Besides, it’s always better when someone else makes something for you, especially someone I don’t see often. So since the start of the year, I’ve been making milky teas every morning for work. A hot beverage helps keep me wake for my hour long commutes long before the sun rises.

If you are a serious coffee addict though, here’s a cake that deserves the Coffee Fanatic Seal of Approval. It smells amazing, there are teeny bits of ground coffee throughout the cake, my favourite part is the delicately crunchy crust with a tender crumb.

Espresso Cake
by Sarabeth Levine via Leite's Culinaria

The original recipe includes a coffee glaze, which I couldn't be bothered. I find frostings, glazes, and icings too cloying sweet and sometimes take away from the pure essence of the cake itself. A simple dusting of icing sugar is fine for me (either that, or I'm just plain lazy). Don't let me discourage you though, if you don't mind extra sugar, knock yourself out, you can find the glaze recipe on Leite's link above. 

1 cup hot brewed coffee
3 tablespoons instant espresso
3 cups unbleached all-purposes flour, plus extra for the pan

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into half inch pieces, plus extra to grease the pan
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated

Preheat the oven to 350°F and position the rack in the centre of the oven. Butter and flour the inside of a bundt pan and tap out the excess flour.

Combine the brewed coffee and espresso powder and allow to cool.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter in a bowl on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Gradually add in the sugar, then add the vanilla, and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, scrapping the bowl occasionally. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beat well in between each addition.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the coffee, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until smooth after each addition.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites in a bowl with a handheld mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Using a spatula, stir about a quarter of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Scrape the batter into the pan, smoothing top with a spatula.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed with your finger, about 50-60 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes, invert and unmold the cake carefully. The cake can be left at room temperature, wrapped in plastic for about 2 days. 

Recipe here!

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