If everyday lethargy is making you feel sluggish you should have tried my Monday morning for size. It was entirely my on fault, mainly because it followed what was, essentially, a weekend of me stuffing my face. If Saturday was full of wine and cheese, then Sunday was full of dinner. My brother recently expressed an interest in making a steak and ale pie, but as he didn’t really know how to do it I was asked to come on board in an ‘advisory’ capacity with my ‘substantial’ knowledge. I’ve made it once. So anyway, whilst I stood chopping the carrots, celery, mushrooms, rosemary (all of which create a fantastic gravy) and beef wondering where in the definition of ‘advisory’ it said ‘do half of it’ I suddenly realised that the impossible had happened – we had no dessert. Disaster. And I was going for a run, I didn’t have time to make anything. There was only one thing for it, postpone the run and deal with the situation – in this case that meant bake a coffee cake to have as a pseudo dessert.
Here would probably be the appropriate time to confess that this is a recipe whole heartedly pilfered and adapted from a copy of an old Woman and Home magazine (not mine, I hasten to add); but I’m happy for you to pretend it’s entirely of my own invention, if you desire. It’s also a coffee and walnut sponge there; however, as 3 of the 5 of us eating it (excluding the dog, despite her substantial scrounging efforts) don’t like walnuts I substituted the crushed walnuts in the sponge for ground almonds and those on the top for chocolate coated coffee beans.
The baking went well and I did eventually go for said aforementioned run – albeit a very short one – although the icing was less successful. I did it in a bit of a rush (in between rolling pastry, discovering the butter paper covering half the pie had a plastic coating and was firmly melted to part of the pastry, and generally trying not to ruin dinner) and accidentally turned the whisk on at full power whilst trying to mix the icing, resulting in an icing sugar explosion of volcanic proportions. All things considered I think it didn’t look half bad and everyone thought it made a pleasant change to sit back and relax with coffee and an enormous slab of cake later in the evening. Might try it again soon, although hopefully without losing half of the icing sugar.
Coffee Cake with Coffee Butter Icing:
65g Ground Almonds
225g Butter (Softened and cubed)
225g Caster sugar
225g Self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2 tbsp camp coffee (coffee essence)
1. Heat the oven to about 170°C and line two 20cm (8inch) cake tins.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the flour, baking powder, coffee essence and then the eggs (you can do this by hand, but I’m lazy and used an electric whisk) – be careful to not whisk for too long as this will leave you with a heavy sponge.
3. Spoon the mixture into the two cake tins and smooth them out.
4. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the sponge has risen and is ‘springy’ to the touch.
5. Take them out of the tins and leave to cool.
6. To make the icing, mix the butter, coffee essence and icing sugar carefully together until thick and creamy.
7. Put the cake on whatever you’re serving it on, put a layer of icing between the layers of sponge and then slap some more on the top and smooth out for as long as your inner perfectionist desires. Scatter the chocolate coated coffee beans over the top however your artistic tendencies demand.
Slice and enjoy liberally. It, unsurprisingly, goes very well with a good cup of coffee.