14 August 2012

* Cappuccino Cake

Finally, a cake that my Kenwood didn't completely annihilate. Though I wasn't particularly sure at first. The description of the batter was *thick* and it was meant to be *smoothed out evenly*... when in fact it poured into the tin in a gloppy, shiny liquid mass, and evened itself out just fine thank you. No *smoothing out* was necessary. I panicked slightly, having had a spat of disasters in recent weeks - there was no way I could pass off yet another ruined sponge as my attempt at the worlds largest cookie.... only last week I'd had to pass off a deflated and sad looking loaf of bread as a savoury flat bread - but this was more the fault of the recipe that I followed, than something that I had done wrong. That time. I do find that many recipes are not tried and tested as they should be - and quantities are often either misprinted, or just plain wrong.

Also, I have a tendency to miss stuff out of a recipe entirely - I skip entire lines of ingredients then wonder why my buttermilk muffins resemble play dough, rather than delightfully fluffy, nommy little cakes - I forgot to add the butter. This time, with this cake... I very nearly missed out the sugar. It was only my knowledge of my own recurrent stupidity that made me triple check the ingredients list.

This one is a Mary Berry recipe, that I found on a leaflet in the Daily Mail. I'm a fan. Have been since childhood when I bought one of her recipe books for my mum, for her birthday... then pinched it. Happily The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens tonight - always a fun watch.

Right then, on with the recipe...

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Makes 8 - 12 servings, depending on the thickness of the slices.

Prep/cooking time - 35 minutes
Cooling time - about an hour
Icing and dusting time - 5 minutes

You will need
2 x 8 inch/20cm cake pans, greased and lined with baking parchment.

Cake batter
50g cocoa powder
6 tbsp boiling water
3 large eggs
50ml milk
175g self-raising flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
100g softened butter ( I used Utterly Butterly instead)
275g caster sugar

Filling and Topping
300ml double cream
1tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2tsp hot water
A little cocoa powder for dusting

Pre-heat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4.

Put the cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl (or your kenwood bowl), add the boiling water and mix to a paste like consistency. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl and beat until just combined. The mixture will be a fairly thick batter (NOT in my case). Be careful not to over-beat. Divide the cake mixture between the tow tins and gently level the surface. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the cakes are well risen and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

To finish the cake - whip the cream until it just holds it shape, then stir in the dissolved coffee. use half the cream to fill the cake and spread the remainder over the top. Gently smooth the surface with a palette knife and dust with sifted cocoa powder.

I've written the recipe, word for word as it is printed on the little leaflet, but I made a few adjustments (unwritten) because I am intimately acquainted with my oven's predilection towards burning food in a totally random fashion... I turned my fan oven to 150c, and the cakes were cooked within 15 minutes. I also am NOT a huge fan of the *all in one* method of adding ingredients, they don't ever combine as well as the old fashioned method of creaming butter and sugar, then adding eggs, then flour... but in this case it did work. Possibly because I beat it to within an inch of it's life. Which it said not to do. Anyway, the point... know your oven and follow your instincts - recipes are meant as guides and if you feel something won't work - do what you know will. Don't blindly follow instructions.

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