Vanilla Latte Cake

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; you’d be hard pushed to find a cake that isn’t improved by a splash of vanilla. This goes double for coffee cake.

I’m one of THOSE people. I take syrup in my coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I like my coffee long, strong and life giving, but I’m not sweet enough to take it with out a little sassy sugar hit. My go to drink if I’m caught at a coffee joint I’m not familiar with is to order a Vanilla Latte. I’m usually going to be safe with that. So, when I was making a coffee cake not so long ago, I thought, hang on… I can make this BETTER.

So I made a light coffee sponge, sandwiched it with a whipped coffee-vanilla buttercream that’s got so much java in it, it could wake the dead. Ta daaah. You’re welcome.

Vanilla Latte Cake

For the cakes:

  • 225g Butter
  • 225g Light muscovado sugar, caster sugar or a blend of both, depending on your supplies
  • 225g Self-raising flour
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • 2tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 Free range eggs
  • 4tsp Instant coffee
  • 1tbsp Boiling water

For the buttercream:

  • 150g Butter
  • 350g Icing sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4tsp Instant coffee powder
  • 1tbsp Boiling water
  • Cocoa powder to finish

Preheat your oven to 180C or the equivalent. Grease and line two 8inch round cake tins.

Boil the kettle, and add the boiling water to the first lot of coffee powder in a small container. Mix together until all the coffee is dissolved into a syrupy consistency. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and the sugar, then mix in the remaining ingredients until a uniform and smooth cake batter is formed.

Finally, mix the coffee syrup into the batter evenly, then divide the mix between the two prepared tins.

Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the cakes are shrinking from the edges. Allow to cool in their tins, or on a rack.

When the cakes are cold, you can either leave them as is for a fatly layered cake, or slice each cake in two and have a four layer cake. If in doubt or lacking confidence or time, do the former.

With the boiling water, make up another batch of coffee ‘syrup’.

Beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and coffee until a thick, luxurious buttercream forms. spread a quarter of the icing over the bottom layer of the cake, then top it with a next, and so on, until the top, where the remaining generous quarter should be spread evenly then swirled for a pretty finish. Dust with cocoa powder to complete the whippy latte look, and serve this aromatic delight with coffee or tea.

 

I wish I had a picture of this delight to show you, but what with camera issues this year and how fast this cake vanishes, I simply don’t. Trust me when I say that this cake is as aromatic and delicious as it is pretty. It’s perfect for celebrations- I find all multi layer cakes a bit festive. If you want to kill with kindness, make an extra sponge (so half the recipe), and stack them up with oodles of icing (one and a half to twice the recipe above) for a true monster that will drop jaws. The amount of buttercream yielded from this recipe is enough for generous layers between the cut cakes, and on top, but if you want to cover the whole cake, which looks a little more polished, make one and a half times this amount, or double to be on the safe side.

I’ve made this cake for a friend’s birthday, and given one to a non-profit event, and in both cases they flew. It’s a real crowd pleaser, and you deserve to make one for yourself.

Enjoy!

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BEDA: Zingy Lime Drizzle Loaf

Despite the shoddy weather, spring has certainly sprung. For me, this means beginning to put away the stodgier recipes of winter, and embracing lighter, brighter flavours. What is brighter, I ask you, than citrus?

Last weekend, for my Easter shindig, I baked a bunch of delicious cakes to treat my guests with. The one that vanished the quickest was my Zingy Lime Drizzle Loaf. Flavour wise, it’s zippy and light, yet the sponge is sweet and light and creamy with a touch of vanilla. All cakes, in my humble opinion, are improved by a touch of vanilla.

Zingy Lime Drizzle Loaf

225g Caster sugar
225g Unsalted butter
4 eggs
225g Self raising flour
Zest of 2 limes
1/2 tsp vanilla
Juice of 3 limes
Additional 85g caster sugar

Preheat your oven to 180c, and grease and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar, before mixing in the eggs one at a time. Give the mix a good beat when combined.

Fold in the flour and combine until the mixture is uniform, then mix through the vanilla and lime zest.

Pour into the tin and bake for 1hr 5minutes. Depending on your oven, you may not need to bake the cake for more for 50 mins at 180c, so check it then. If it needs the full time, drop the heat to 160c to keep cooking for the remaining 10-15 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the tin. When cooled but still warm, prick the cake deeply with a skewer or cocktail stick.

Dissolve the sugar in the lime juice, and drizzle the syrup over the cake as evenly as possible. This should when truly cool form a sugary crust, with the cake moistened and enriched by the juice.

Serve in fat slices and enjoy.

As delicious and moreish as this cake is, in the instances I have tried it a true sugar crust hasn’t formed. This doesn’t affect the taste and the cake still has a glossy, slightly crisp top, but I leave you forewarned.

Let me know how you get on!

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Summer means Strawberries…

… and Strawberries means Strawberry Gateau.

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Strawberry Gateau

Ingredients

  • 300g Caster sugar
  • 250g butter or Stork
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 250g self raising flour
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1 pint/600ml double cream
  • A couple of punnets of fresh British strawberries (approx 800g- try to get them from your home county if available)

For the sponge, preheat your oven to 180 degrees c and grease two round tins. I personally line mine with greaseproof… if I can be bothered. Usually I just liberally spritz them with fry light.

In a mixer, or by hand, cream together the butter and 250g of the sugar until it is pale yellow and fluffy. Next, beat in the eggs until the batter is uniform.

Add in your vanilla and give a quick mix through, before folding in your flour.

Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. My oven takes about 28 minutes, but my old oven took 23, so I’d check at around 20 odd minutes *particularly* if your oven doesn’t have a viewing window or light.

Allow your cakes to cool for at least an hour. I cool mine in their tins because I’m lazy.

Once the cakes are cool, hull your strawberries. Reserve 18-22 smaller strawbs, particularly those with nice shapes. Hull these. The others need to be hulled and then cut in half.

Whip the cream with the remaining 50g of sugar until it holds in stiffish peaks. Spread a thin layer of this on the cake you are using for the bottom of the Gateau.

Line up the cut tops of the half strawberries with the edge of the cake, working your way around before completing rings inside. Fill up the space as best you can- you should be able to fit in 3 or so riings of berries, plus the odd half in any big gaps.

Pour 2/3 of the remaining cream on top of the berries and spread it out into a lavishly thick layer. Be sure to not let it extend beyond the edge. To the edge is perfect.

Pop the other cake on top and press it down a little to make sure it is well set. Spread the remaining cream on the top in an even layer that is a little thicker around the rim,

Press the hulled strawberries into the cream around the edge of the cake. Finish, if you like, with a dusting of icing sugar. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving.

IMG_2357

This cake is simple enough, yet voluptuous, scrumptious and a real showstopper when you bring it to the table. Serving it in early summer, it is the perfect celebration of the season and a crowd pleaser for all ages. The cream is cool, light, fluffy and sweet, but not too cloying. The sponge should be moist, light and buttery, pleasingly sweet with vanilla. The strawberries are the real star ingredient, however. It is important to use in season fruit for this cake, as their summery sweetness, bursting with juice and goodness is what *makes* this dessert.  This cake will easily serve 8-10 as part of a meal, as it did at my Grandparent’s house (as per the pictures.

Enjoy. It’s bloody hot out- you deserve this cake.

All the best,

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