Thursday, 2 June 2011

Scrumptious Coffee & Walnut Cake

Today is a colleague’s birthday so I’ve decided to go against the normal traditions (link) and make her cake instead of her bringing in her own. The consensus in our office was that coffee cake was one of the best cakes around so I dug out a recipe and decided to give it a go.

Shock horror when The Boy returned after a day of promoting his trade at The Bath & West Show (baring foodie goodies!) to find our kitchen filled with the scent of coffee. He is a tea drinker and can’t stand the strength or bitterness of coffee. His resolve did crumble slightly when I gave him a taste – he confessed that it wasn’t all that terrible.

I tried out another of Angela Nilsen’s Ultimate Makeover series – a low calorie, low fat cake does limit my food guilt even though it’s only an occasional treat. It was a pretty simple recipe to follow. A lot of the ‘good for you’ cake recipes of the sponge ilk that I’ve come across need you to whisk up egg whites and other faff but this one, thankfully, has none of that. The filling, which I also used as a topping in the place of icing, involves making a syrup from water, coffee and sugar which takes a little care and patience but is worth it.

Angela’s original recipe can be found here. She managed to cut hers into three and filled it in with the filling then topped with icing. Mine didn’t rise enough so I was only able to cut it in half but it did mean that I didn’t need to make icing. Less bowls to wash up. Bonus! I also substituted low fat mascarpone with light cream cheese and a little yoghurt which worked well.

Coffee & Walnut Cake
Makes 12 servings

225g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
85g light brown muscovado sugar
50g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
250ml low fat natural yoghurt
75ml walnut oil
25g chopped walnuts

For the coffee cream to fill and top the cake
140g icing sugar, sifted
140g Quark
100g low fat cream cheese
3 tbsp low fat natural yoghurt
2 tsp instant coffee granules
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Handful of walnut halves to decorate

- Preheat the oven to 180C and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
- Mix the coffee granules with 2 tbsp of warm water and stir until dissolved.
- Mix the flour, sugars (Angela suggests rubbing the muscovado sugar through your fingers to get rid of the lumps which I did and it really helped), walnuts, ground almonds and baking powder into a bowl and mix well.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the eggs, coffee mixture, yoghurt and oil into it. Stir thoroughly until combined.
- Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave on one side to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the coffee cream. In a saucepan, mix the coffee granules and caster sugar with 2 tbsp of warm water. Put the saucepan on a low heat and stir until the sugar and coffee are dissolved into the water.
- Turn the heat up under the saucepan and gently simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for around 2 ½ minutes until it is thicker and darker then leave to cool. As Angela states in her original recipe, when cooled, the mixture has the consistency of treacle or golden syrup.
- While the mixture is cooling, whisk the other ingredients together. Add the cooled coffee syrup and fold through.
- Cut the cooled cake in half (or more if it’s risen well and you can manage it) and fill with half of the coffee cream.
- Assemble the cake, top with the rest of the coffee cream and decorate with walnut halves. Serve with a cup of Joe or even a cup of tea!

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