Friday, 21 February 2014

Spiced coffee cake

Last time I promised you something to go with your morning or afternoon brew. In issue 14 of The Simple Things magazine, there was a recipe for a spice mix which can be added to filter coffee. Chickpea and I fell completely in love at first taste and often have it as a weekend treat.

After a while though, I started to wonder what the spices might taste like in a cake. Given that they're added to coffee, it made sense that the cake should be a coffee cake.

I browsed through my books and magazines for inspiration and quickly decided it should have at least three layers. However, it was the frosting on the cappuccino cake which really caught my eye. I ended up using that recipe as the base on which to add my spices but tweaked both the recipe and the method. One of the alterations was to use more spoonfuls of coffee than specified as a number of people who commented online said the flavour needed to be stronger. Even so, the coffee flavour isn't particularly strong and comes through more in the frosting. Oh, the frosting! The yummy yummy frosting. In fact, forget the cake and just make the frosting!

I was so pleased with how the cake turned out and its gentle spicy warmth. It was really useful reading other people's experiences and tips on making the cappuccino cake recipe so, if you do decide to have a go at my spiced coffee cake, I'd love to know what you think and what you did to add your own twist. xx

Spiced coffee cake

250g unsalted butter
250g light soft brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp
300g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Seeds from 10 cardamom pods, ground to a fine powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 eggs, beaten
150ml very strong black coffee, cooled

500g mascarpone
3-4 tbsp light soft brown sugar
50ml cold strong coffee

1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Butter and line 3 x 8" sandwich tins.
2. Beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.
3. Add the flour, eggs and spices and beat until evenly mixed.
4. Fold in 100ml of the coffee. I made mine in a cafetiere with 200ml hot water and 6 tbsp ground coffee.
5. Divide evenly between the 3 prepared tins and bake for 25 minutes or until baked.
6. Leave the cakes in their tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Add the 2 tbsp sugar to the remaining 50ml coffee and brush onto one side of each cake. Leave to cool and then put in the fridge overnight. The cakes will firm up and make it easier to spread the frosting.
7. To make the frosting, put all of the mascarpone in a bowl and beat with the sugar and the coffee. You may want to add more or less coffee and sugar to taste. The mixture will seem liquid at first but keep beating and it will firm up.
8. Spread a layer of frosting over 2 of the cakes and sandwich the 3 sponges together.
9. Spread a thin layer over the whole cake and put the cake back in the fridge to firm up. This is known as 'dirty icing' and will mean you end up with a crumb-free finish at the end.
10. After half an hour or so, spread the remaining frosting over the cake with a palette knife (I had some left but you might be more generous with your frosting!). Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

The cake will keep for a few days in the fridge but is best eaten at room temperature.


  1. The cake looks and sounds gorgeous, my husband is a big fan of coffee cake and would love this spiced version. I really like the little plate the cake is on too.
    Marianne x

  2. ooh this sounds good...something to try, especially if I could tweak it so it is gluten free for Dave - he'd love this! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I definitely need to try this, it looks and sounds delicious...pinterest :)

  4. This sounds - and looks!! - delicious, I really like the idea of the spices in with the coffee. Yummmm!! xx

  5. This looks really good!
    It reminds me of a carrot cake. You could grate some carrot and put in the batter if you wanted to try it...and you know you want to!

  6. Your cake looks delicious and that frosting looks so easy to make. Sarah x