Last week I became an Aunty for the second time with the arrival of a beautiful little niece called Bridget.
When popping over to visit her (and my sister, brother-in-law, and three-year old nephew Rowan) I bought along this cake.
It’s pretty intense so you only need small slices and it’s a dense, chocolatey sponge with subtle hints of coffee in the cake and the icing.
The coffee adds to the richness and balances out the sweetness of the chocolate while the buttercream is light and creamy to offset the richness of the cake.
I covered it in melted chocolate and chocolate-covered espresso beans – which if you’ve never tried them and are a fan of coffee, are slightly addictive.
With a strong caffeine and chocolate hit – it’s a winner for new parents (or anyone who is lacking in sleep).
200g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g self raising flour
75g cocoa powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
50ml vegetable oil
4 tablespoons strong instant coffee
A pinch of salt
For the icing…
500g icing sugar
250g butter, very soft
2 tablespoons instant coffee
50g dark chocolate
10 chocolate-covered espresso beans
How to make…
Preheat the oven to 190C/180 fan/Gas 4 and line one 6inch cake tin.
Blend together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
Once the mixture has doubled in size and lightened in colour, add in the eggs one at a time. In between each egg pop in a dollop of flour to stop the mixture separating.
Add the coffee, pinch of salt and oil, then sieve in the flour and cocoa powder slowly.
Carry on mixing everything together until combined – and then spoon the mixture into the cake tin.
Bang each tin sharply on the table to get rid of the air bubbles and then put in the oven for 45 minutes.
Watch the cake like a hawk and as soon as it’s darkened in colour and springs back to your touch they re done. This is hard with a chocolate cake so also use a sharp knife inserted into the middle – when it comes out clean the cake is done.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack and wait until they are stone cold before attempting the icing. When the cake is cold cut it in half.
Then make your icing. Beat together the butter, sugar and coffee until it forms stiff peaks. It should be thick – like soft butter – and the longer you beat it for the smoother it will become, around five minutes with an electric mixer.
Pipe on icing blobs on the first cake layer, followed by a drizzle of melted chocolate and then repeat on the top layer, finishing with the espresso beans.