Coffee Cake

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I’ll start this one by saying I’m not a tea or coffee drinker so I don’t gravitate towards any recipes that contain them like Earl Grey cupcakes or coffee cake etc. I do adore the smell of coffee though and recently have tried a few sips again and whaddaya know – it’s not so bad!! Tea on the other hand makes me feel sick so I won’t be venturing near it any time soon.

Anyway – I digress! A friend of mine loves coffee cake and as I was visiting over the weekend I decided to bake up her favourite treat. We have a deal, she makes an absolute feast for dinner and I bring along desert…. as cooking actual dinners is definitely not my forte, this deal works out pretty well for me πŸ™‚

Coffee cake is a simple thing to make, it’s just basically a plain sponge, flavoured with some instant coffee. There are a lot more adventurous recipes out there but my baking is all about the simple things. I got this recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I use their recipes quite a bit and am yet to come across a bad one!

So first up is the ingredients. Note that I like loads of icing on my cakes so I doubled what is listed below…. I love a massive thick layer in the middle and on top and if you’ve enough you can always ice around the sides…. there is never too much icing on cakes!! It’s totally up to you how much you use but I think the below quantities are a bit stingy on the icing (or maybe I’m just a greedy sugar addict!)

Ingredients List
150g caster sugar
150g butter or margarine
3 eggs
150g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp instant coffee (add more if you like it strong)

For The Icing

225g icing sugar
100g butter (don’t use margarine for this icing, trust me it’s rank)
1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
1 tbsp hot water
Strawberry jam (optional) …. I didn’t use this as said friend had never had jam with her coffee cake and I didn’t want to ruin the cake for her if she didn’t like it!

Some walnuts to decorate.

So here we go:
1. Preheat the oven at 160C, 325 F,gas 3. Grease & line two equally sized sandwich tins. I use these cheap and cheerful ones from Argos for all my cakes: http://www.argos.ie/static/Product/partNumber/8615662/Trail/searchtext%3ESANDWICH+.htm
Add the sugar and the butter to a bowl and whisk until very fluffy and a pale cream.

2. Beat the eggs in a mug with a fork and then add them gradually to the mixture with 1 tbsp of flour each time. Make sure you don’t use all the flour. It’ll look a bit gross and kinda curdly but don’t stress, once the flour is added all will be fine πŸ™‚

3. Sieve in the rest of the flour and the baking powder to the mixture and fold it in gently with a spoon (don’t use a fork here, always a spoon!)

4. Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water and add to the mixture still folding. Divide into the sandwich tins and cook for 30 minutes

5. While they are in the oven, cream the butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy. This sounds nice and easy and in reality it’s a simple thing to do but if you are doing it by hand be prepared to use some serious elbow grease as you want the icing sugar well mixed into the butter. You could use the electric whisk for this as it’s quicker but if you do this in a mixing bowl with the electric whisk I’d advise you to cover the bowl with a tea towel as the icing sugar is so fine a powder and it’ll end up all over your kitchen.
MAKE SURE TO SIEVE THE ICING SUGAR IN!! I put this in caps as it’s VERY important not to just dump it in straight from the pack, you’ll have lumps of it where it’s clumped together if you don’t sieve it in.

Dissolve the coffee in boiling water, making sure you don’t add too much water or the icing will be runny and add it to the butter and icing sugar. Fully mix or whisk again and leave it aside.

6. Once the cakes are done, take them from the tins and leave to cool. Don’t start to ice them till they are completely cool!

Spread the icing on the bottom of one of the cakes (leaving around half of the icing for the top) and spread the strawberry jam onto the bottom of the other if you used it. Spread the remainig icing on top of the cake.

Decorate with walnuts.

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I don’t store my buttercream cakes in the fridge as I find it makes the icing go hard so I recommend just keeping them in a cool dry kitchen press for storage. When I started baking I thought everything had to be fridged but when you think how long butter lasts at room temp it’s absolutely fine to leave your cakes like this too…. and if my experience is anything to go by they don’t last too long anyway!

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