You know what’s nice? Avocado. You know what’s also nice? The surprise in my housemate’s voice when she said I looked nice (note sarcasm). But anyway, coffee and chestnut may not be the first flavour combination that jumps to mind, but it works!
My very first client wanted a birthday cake for her mother. She really likes chestnuts so we were brainstorming about what would go with it and both decided on coffee. So I did a plain coffee cake as the base with a chestnut filling and a coffee glace icing to cover it.
I was debating over what recipe to use for the cake base. For something like a coffee cake you need a moist but not incredibly close textured cake, like the texture you get from a carrot cake. I have this brilliant all in one recipe that I have used constantly since I was six making butterfly cupcakes with my mum.
All-in-one is another of the 5 cake methods. This is where you chuck everything in a bowl and beat it all together. This is very similar to the creaming method except that there is a chemical raising agent (baking powder) because you don’t cream the butter and sugar which usually incorporates air. Is this making any sense? It isn’t to me and I know what I’m talking about.
170g self-raising flour
170g butter at room temperature (you can use either salted or unsalted)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
3 tsp coffee granules
2tbsp of just boiled water
(Technically 1 medium egg weighs 55g, what you’re meant to do is weigh the eggs and then weigh the exact same amount of flour, sugar and butter. But this works just as well.)
Pre heat the oven to 180C/GM 4/350F
Line 3 8 inch individual sandwhich tins with greaseproof paper or an 8 inch springform or loose base cake tin.
Even though it’s an all in one cake I still like to beat the butter briefly just to break it up a bit.
Dissolve the coffee granules in the 2tbsp of just boiled water.
Once the butter has been slightly beaten add the sugar, sift in the flour and crack in the eggs. Add the dissolved coffee and the baking powder.
Beat it all together until smooth
Pour into the sandwhich tin/tins and bake in the oven for 20 mins until the cake is firm and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then carefully place on a wire rack to cool completely.
300g of icing sugar (I think this is right, but I always do it to taste so add more or less if you want)
around 40ml of milk
around 40ml of double cream
around ¼ of a can (~100g) of chestnut puree (I use Merchant Gourmet, found at most supermarkets, oh and I also do this to taste, if you like a more chestnutty flavour then add more!)
Cream the butter and sift in the icing sugar, whisk together until light and fluffy.
Add the milk and the cream and whisk again
Add the chestnut puree (be warned it looks alarmingly like dog food) and whisk again.
Coffee Glace Icing
around 500g icing sugar
4 tsp coffee granules dissolved in 4 tbsp of boiling water
For decoration (optional):
7 or 8 cooked and peeled chestnuts
2 tbsp ground down coffee granules
Sift the icing sugar
Add the dissolved coffee and mix, add more boiling water to bring to a smooth thick paste.
If it goes lumpy (which it may, this is me we’re talking about) just whizz it in a food processor, if you don’t have a food processor like me then you have the laborious task of gradually shoving it through a sieve (yay).
Divide the buttercream in 2 and spread half over the bottom 1/3 of the cake, place the 2nd layer on top and spread the rest over this layer. Place the final layer on top.
Pour the coffee icing over the top of the cake so it dribbles down the sides, smooth over with a wet palette knife.
Decorate however you want. I ground down some coffee granules, added some cake crumbs and roughly chopped cooked chestnuts and sweetened it with a bit of caster sugar and then placed it artfully (yeah right) in the middle of the cake.
Place a dollop of apricot jam or strawberry jam in the middle of a cake board and veeeery caaarefully place the cake on top. This anchors it in place so it won’t (easily) fall off which is very important when I’m involved because I do drop things constantly.
And voila! Your cake is made!
Boy that was long! Now I’m going to go because I’ve been sitting in the same place for far too long and my bum’s gone to sleep and rather disconcertingly I can smell smoke. I’m going to go check the house isn’t on fire.