This place has been dessert central lately. Don’t fret, I have not given up my beef braising, curry paste pounding, bean cooking ways. But this has been a hell of a winter for germs, and as long time readers know, I am the original germ magnet. Why is that relevant? Because baking is fun, relaxing, soothing… dinner is rushed, time constricted and mandatory. Which does not mean that I have made no dinners (although John would like me to add that I have not made enough), however they have mostly not been blog worthy dinners. But in between various illnesses peaking, I have found time for some blog worthy desserts.
I made this cake to take to my family’s home, the weekend I was in Columbus for the Ohio State-Michigan basketball game, which was the same weekend I made the mujadarra for Cook, Eat, Tweet. Photographing the mujadarra was rushed, because I was tweeting and then eating on my way out the door to our evening plans, plus by the time I served the mujadarra I had lost the light. But the cake? What a dream! First, my mom had the fabulous cake stand, which has inspired me to acquire one for my kitchen as well.
Second, and alas I cannot do anything to replicate this one, but my mom’s renovated kitchen has an island with a lowered counter for kneading at one end. This lowered counter is under sky lights (!!! natural light!!!). Talk about a staging dream. Especially for someone like me, who never wants to think about staging (and who, I confess, rarely does). Instant perfect daylight lighting, with the background of the elevated counter and my mom’s tiered fruit stand! And it does not hurt that she has no little people constantly destroying her counter (honestly compels me to add it also does not hurt that she and my dad are better housekeepers than John and I ever could be).
What’s that you say? You don’t photograph your food, you eat it, and would really like to hear about the cake instead of how I took its picture? Fair enough! The flavor I was going for was a strong vanilla latte–with just a hint of chocolate from the glaze. And I think I succeeded. John was not a fan, but he does not care for coffee flavored desserts. My friend Donna, on the other hand, who is my regular mocha sipping partner, pronounced it amazing. My parents loved it also. The cake that I adapted from can be found in the fabulously entertaining All Cakes Considered, by Melissa Gray.
- For cake:
- ¾ cup strong coffee
- 1 t instant espresso powder
- ¼ cup agave syrup (or honey if you don't mind a honey flavor)
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2½ cups cake flour
- 3 t baking powder
- ¼ t baking soda
- ¼ t salt
- 1 T vanilla
- For glaze:
- I was out of cream, so I used butter plus 1% milk plus chocolate chips plus light corn syrup and pinch of salt and winged it. Use your favorite semi sweet chocolate ganache for glazing cakes; 6 oz chocolate to ½ cup heavy cream with a pinch of salt is a good ratio.
- Make the coffee--use as strong of a coffee as you can. Dissolve the espresso powder into it while it is hot, and then add the agave syrup and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Spray a 10 or 12 cup bundt pan with a baking spray with flour. If you choose a 10 cup pan, also prepare some mini cake pans or mini loaf pans. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the brown sugar until it is incorporated, and then beat on medium high speed for 3 minutes, until lightened and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat for one more minute, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Make sure the coffee mixture has cooled to at least room temperature--if it has not, place it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.
- On low speed, add the flour mixture and coffee mixture, alternating, in 4 and 3 additions, respectively, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Finish mixing the batter by hand, scraping the sides and bottom thoroughly. Make sure it is all incorporated, but do not over mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan/s. The batter should come to about 1-2 inches below the top of the bundt pan.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes (begin checking at 35 minutes for a smaller cake, 40 minutes for a larger cake), until the cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with only a few crumbs attached.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
- Make your chocolate ganache glaze. Set aside to cool.
- When cake has cooled completely, prepare to glaze it. Place foil or wax paper under the cooling rack. Pour the chocolate glaze over the top and sides of the cake. If desired, you can pour the extra ganache off of the foil, back into the bowl, and then drizzle additional layers of chocolate onto the cake.
- Let set completely before slicing.