Autumn arrived suddenly, two weeks ago while we were sleeping. It is a season which always feels like a journey to me, rather tired and messy, although still filled with gifts, and a journey which will take me into the darkness of winter. It feels like a last chance to ‘see’ before my eyes turn inwards.
And the second variety of cake for the last ‘Concert at Cratfield’ is Chocolate Guinness Cake which is based on Delia Smith’s Chocolate Beer Cake in her Book of Cakes. I covered the cake with a chocolate glaze of melted chocolate, beer, and cream. The taste is very good, with coffee, mixed spice, and cinnamon adding complexity to the beer and chocolate.
I am happy with the recipe, and the glaze has hardened, but the shape does not really show. Do I need a bundt tin with a more obvious shape? Or should I leave this cake uniced, with perhaps just a dusting of icing sugar?
There are two cakes because the first one stuck to the tin – I think I turned it upside down too soon – and so it has a rough chocolate and sour cream icing but you can see the texture – quite fine.
So where am I with this recipe? I like the recipe, but the shape is not sufficiently strongly defined, which means a new tin. And perhaps it is a cake which can be served in two ways – with a glaze which hardens, and with a dusting of icing sugar.
Today is the last ‘Concert at Cratfield’ in the 2013-14 season and I think I have achieved a good-tasting Coffee Cake, although I am still not happy with the icing and filling.
The recipe is the Double Espresso Brazil Nut Cake from Dan Lepard‘s Short & Sweet. I am still not happy with the filling and icing. I used mascarpone cheese flavoured with coffee, but it made a very sloppy icing – perhaps it was the brand of mascarpone? I topped the mascarpone with a coffee glace icing.
Previously I used a Coffee Mousseline Icing from Delia Smith’s Book of Cakes and it was excellent, but very heavy on butter and egg yolks. The icing was also quite soft and not entirely suitable for a cake stall on a hot afternoon.
Geraldine Holt, Cakes, has an English Butter Cream which uses a hot liquid to melt the sugar crystals and no egg yolks – I could try that. Dan Lepard uses a Coffee Water Icing which, judging from the photograph in the book, looks quite ‘thick’. But I am reluctant to take his advice because I want something creamier…
Dan Lepard lists a Meringue Buttercream Icing which sounds very good. I think I need to decide the ‘look’ I am trying to achieve; the cupcakes are pretty; the coffee cake looks nice with the icing swirled on top; and then there is a smooth finish.
So where does this leave me? I like Dan Lepard’s recipe; I like the sandwich cake shape; a coffee mousseline butter icing makes a wonderful filling; and the meringue buttercream seems to give the best ‘finish’; and for a filling and covering without eggs I should try Geraldine Holt’s English Butter Cream. Or Nigel Slater has a recipe for Mascarpone icing which sounds ‘firmer’ and I could try another brand.