With the stress and excitement of opening week over, I had some time to think about new cakes for the cafe. We're taking part in UK Coffee Week from 11 April, and I wanted to try out a cake to sell to raise money for the charity. A coffee cake seemed like a good idea (I've always loved coffee cake, I think I must take after my mother - at her request I made a coffee cake to Delia Smith's recipe for her 95th birthday last month)...
...I sandwiched the three layers with vanilla-scented whipped cream, and lightly spread coffee buttercream on the top. Although she's a great lover of (and excellent baker of) cakes, Mother doesn't really have a sweet tooth and prefers a relatively unadorned slice.
I wanted something which tasted more strongly of coffee for the cafe, and found what I wanted in Dan Lepard's 'Short And Sweet', which is turning into my first-choice baking book, judging by the bookmarks and thumbprints.
Dan's recipe for 'Double Espresso Brazil Nut Cake' sounded ideal - he chooses Brazil nuts for their creaminess, and to avoid any of the bitterness that walnuts (the traditional companion ingredient) can bring to the finished cake. Now I find brazil nuts to be too creamy and waxy, so I used pecan nuts (my husband's favourite) instead, chopped finely.
I was very pleased indeed with this test cake - nice colour, texture and aroma - so I thought I'd try it out on my cake-loving customers. I made a coffee buttercream filling (Good Food recipe online) and iced it with Dan's Coffee Water Icing (also from Short And Sweet) which is flavoured with both coffee and lemon - so there's a pleasing tartness to the icing. I couldn't resist scattering some flaked almonds on top. Almonds improve everything.
Did people like it? I sold half of it, so I'll wait for reports back tomorrow.