My other half and I bake each other's birthday cakes every year and, every year, we ask about a month in advance what each other would like. Most of the time, there is a lot of "hmmmm" and "ehhh" but not this year.
Im a massive coffee lover and, in a flash of inspiration, I decided it had to be coffee cake this year! You can do what you like with this, in terms of adding fruit etc like traditional recipes, but i'm not a big fan of fruit in cake so we went for simple and tasty coffee with a gorgeous maple icing.
It. Was. Amazing!
What you'll need
200g plain flour
2½ tsp baking powder
220g light brown sugar
220g butter - room temperature
4 medium eggs
2 tsp milk
1 tsp salt
Instant coffee - we use Nescafe Azera which is a power rather than granules, so mixes well. We used about 10 generous tsp, which gave a really rich coffee taste, but how much you add it will depend on how you like it.
Make the cake!
1. Preheat the oven to 160C and grease your cake tins
2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, light brown sugar, butter, eggs, milk and salt, in a large bowl , till well combined
3. Add the coffee. I'd do it gradually if you're not sure how strong you want it. Maybe start with 5, combine well, and taste a tiny bit of it. I found it didn't loose much of its coffee flavour in the oven so the taste at this point will be pretty representative. Add more as you wish - go mad!
4. Pour the mixture into your greased tins. We used three 8 inch cake tins and checked them after every few minutes after 20 minutes, until a skewer came out clear. If you are using two bigger tins, you'll find this takes longer
5. Remove from the over and give them a while to cool before turning out the cake tins.
Dress the cake
There are tonnes of flavours that will go with this cake. More coffee, vanilla, chocolate, mint, it would even be really nice with just a dusting of icing sugar. My next attempt might be Baileys buttercream. For this one, we went for maple syrup buttercream and it worked really well.
Whisk 250g room temperature butter with 250g icing sugar until it starts to come together, then add 125ml maple syrup and continue to whisk till it reaches a good consistency for piping.
We had it between the layers of the cake, as the crumb coat and then as a smooth final layer. Because it was for a special occasion we coloured some of it up and piped roses but thats all very extra!