Monday, 29 August 2011

Coffee and Walnut Sponge Cake


Recipe Number Eighty One:  Page 51.

I had been fancying a coffee cake all week, so choosing this particular recipe took next to no time. When I was younger I used to loathe coffee cake but now it is one of my favourites. It just shows how tastes change.

I was feeling very tired by the time I got round to baking this particular cake. The day before we were up at 5.30am so that we could catch an early boat to the Isle of Wight. It was my sister's hen night that evening, so it was very late by the time my head hit the pillow! I hoped this cake would be worth using up what little energy I had left!

As we were staying with my parents, I had to take a few minutes to acclimatise myself to a different kitchen. I spent a lot of time calling out to my mum, asking where the sieve or electric whisk was! When it came to adding the butter and sugar I was pleased that I didn't need much of either. In fact I also didn't require much flour or eggs; this was obviously going to be a fairly small sponge. I had to add in a modest quantity of chopped walnuts and a tablespoon of coffee essence. I made the mistake of licking the spoon after adding the coffee essence; blah, disgusting! When all of the ingredients were added to my mum's huge mixing bowl, I could get on and beat everything together using the electric whisk. It did take some time before the mixture was smooth. I am not sure why this was, but I hoped I hadn't over mixed. I shared the mixture between the sandwich tins and placed them into the preheated oven. I left them to cook while I collapsed in a heap and tried to stay awake! When I checked on the cakes, 25 minutes later, I was rather disappointed as they hadn’t risen very well. I wondered if this was due to my over mixing. The cakes were ready nearly ten minutes before they were meant to be, so I am pleased that I checked when I did. I tipped the rather flat cakes onto a wire rack to cool while I made up the butter cream.

The butter cream was nice and straightforward. I needed a lot of icing sugar but only a small amount of butter in comparison. I was worried that the icing would be way too dry but as I also had to add a tiny amount of milk and coffee essence, I felt reassured that this would be enough to make a soft mixture. I whisked everything together and, sure enough, I soon had a light and smooth butter cream. Once the cakes were cold I could sandwich them together with half of the butter cream. I could spread it thickly and I still had enough to cover the top of the cake quite generously. After smoothing the icing over the top of the cake, the final finishing touch was to decorate with some walnut halves.

I took a step back to admire my little cake. I really was rather pleased with it. I loved the colours of the dark brown sponge and the light caramel colour of the butter cream. The walnut halves made the cake look particularly pretty. I did find the sponge a little tricky to cut. I think this was mainly due to the walnuts in the cake and maybe also because it was very moist. Neil isn't normally that fussed by coffee cake, so I was surprised when he said he really liked it. He thought it light and liked the combination of coffee and walnuts. My mum is a real connoisseur of coffee and walnut cake, so I was delighted when she gave it the thumbs up; she couldn't leave it at one slice! This cake was so quick and easy to make. It didn't really require much effort on my part, so I am very glad I found the energy to make it. I certainly slept well that night!
A seriously yummy cake!

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