Monday, 25 June 2012


Recipe Number Two Hundred & Four:  Page 167

Why, oh why did I leave all the complicated recipes till last? This was the question I repeatedly asked myself when searching the pages of the Baking Bible. The few recipes that remain are, in the most part, time consuming and fiddly, just the sort of thing you wish to avoid when pregnancy hormones course through your veins and you have an aching spine!! Hey ho, I'm on the final push and moaning won't make things any easier!

It was hard to find the impetus to bake after a week off from the challenge. It had been my little boy’s second birthday mid week and we spent a few days with both sets of grandparents at Center Parcs. I think it's safe to say that we all had a wonderful time. Isaac really enjoyed his birthday; he splashed in the lake, played with the sand, and there was even time to head to the swimming pool. It was a very water orientated day! Isaac wolfed down an enormous birthday tea and a pile of cake; he went to bed a very happy boy!

All too soon it was back to reality and we were home with bags to unpack and a pile of washing to attend to. It was hard to get back into baking mode after those relaxing days away. After spending ages looking through the remaining recipes, I finally decided upon these Mokatines. We had all of the ingredients needed, so no dash to the shop would be necessary. I found it hard to ignore my sense of foreboding. I'd made the Chocolatines (an almost identical recipe) some months ago and it had been a very long drawn out and unrewarding process. It was clear that I would need full concentration, so I shut the door between the living room and kitchen. Neil entertained Isaac and I could bake in peace!

First I had to make a Genoese sponge. This was the part I feared the most as my previous effort had tasted eggy and the texture was stodgy. I was worried that the outcome might be even worse as the battery had died in my electric scales and I didn't have a new one to replace it. I'd have to make do with my manual set, which is nowhere near as accurate – deep joy! I weighed the butter, then placed it into a small saucepan to melt gently over a low heat. I left it to cool while I whisked the sugar and egg mixture to within an inch of its life. My hand held electric whisk is cheap as chips, so having it on top speed is always a worry. Sure enough, I was soon enveloped within an aroma of overheated plastic. After several minutes had passed my mixture was suitably thick and mousse like. I'm sure my whisk let out a sigh of relief when I eventually turned it off! I carefully folded in the flour and butter in two stages. This time I had allowed the butter to cool right down before pouring it in. I wondered if it had been too hot on the previous occasion. I tipped the thick mixture into the tin and placed it into the oven. All I could do was hope for the best!

Unfortunately, there was no time to rest as I'd yet to make the Crème au Beurre Moka (coffee butter cream). When making the chocolate variation for the Chocolatines, I overheated the sugar syrup and managed to scramble the egg yolks, so I was keen to avoid a repeat disaster! I heated the sugar and water in a small pan then brought it to a steady boil. Mary says to boil for two to three minutes. While I waited, I managed to locate my sugar thermometer. I remembered that Mary used one for another demanding French butter cream. I found the recipe and noted that the sugar syrup is ready at 107 degrees. I checked my syrup and it was 131 degrees – whoops! I let it cool down to the correct temperature and tried to whisk it into the egg yolk, but of course the damage had already been done. It cooked the awaiting yolk instantly and I was left with a lumpy coagulated mess! I had to clean it all up and start again. This time I used the thermometer from start to finish and it was a complete success! Hallelujah! I dug out yet another mixing bowl from the depths of the cupboard, added the butter and softened it with a wooden spoon. Mary makes a point of mentioning that the butter should be very soft. I think the bingo wing on my right arm has shrunk a little after all that wooden spoon action!!! Now it was time to pour in the sugary egg and mix some more. Now the mixture was finally ready to receive a good helping of coffee essence. This would of course provide a coffee flavour!

By this time the cake was cooked through and I was so pleased to see that it had risen beautifully and was a hundred times better than my previous effort! I left it to cool on a wire rack and moved on to making the soft coffee icing. It was clear that I was still a long way from the finishing line. I glanced at the clock and was horrified to see that an hour and a half had passed since I had started.

As my tired legs shuffled me over to the fridge to collect the milk Isaac spotted me through the door and pressed his little face against the glass for a kiss. That certainly helped to cheer up my weary soul!

I cleaned out the small saucepan for the FOURTH time and tipped in the milk, some butter and coffee granules. Once the butter had melted I could sift in a large quantity of icing sugar. I could have cried as I watched the icing sugar leave a trail of white dust all over the hob, worktop, and of course the floor! I beat the unappealing brown mixture until thick. I was suddenly struck with a strong craving for a cup of coffee, partly due to the tempting smell but mostly to perk up my flagging energy.

Once the cake was cold I could split it in half horizontally then smear with a very thin layer of coffee butter cream before sandwiching it back together. Once I had cut the cake into the required eight slices I felt sad that, after all this effort, I was left with just eight small cakes!

I'd had enough of cleaning pans, so I heated a small quantity of apricot jam in the microwave before painting it over the cakes with a pastry brush. I reached across, picked up the pan of coffee icing and poured it generously over each cake in turn. Most of it slid straight off the sides and onto the baking tray waiting underneath. I spread what I could over the sides but there were a few unattractive gaps. After the icing had set a little, I located a piping bag and small nozzle. There was such a pathetic amount of coffee butter cream left to use that it looked rather silly in the piping bag. As it turned out, I only had enough for three of the cakes, grrr! The heat from my hands melted the last little dollop and it fell from the nozzle, decorating the floor with little drips. I couldn't help but laugh – I was almost delirious by this point!!!!

After all the hard work I hoped to love these little cakes. I was delighted with the sponge; it had turned out really well and was light and fluffy. The butter cream and icing were strongly flavoured with coffee and were rather sickly. Neil said the cake was nice enough in small quantities but he felt an urge to brush his teeth as it was so sweet! Maybe that is why there are only eight?! These are certainly best served in the 'Special Cakes' section of the Baking Bible. They definitely are for special occasions or for people you REALLY love! I was so worn out after my two hour baking session that poor Neil was left with the mountain of washing up. He has certainly earned extra brownie points!
Don't let it's simple looks fool you!!!


  1. Lovely post sweetie, I'm so pleased Isaac had a swimmingly good day (sorry I know that was a poor joke, but I couldn't resist) xxx

  2. My word, you deserve a medal for tackling this recipe.....I think I'll give it a miss.
    But I must say, it looks fabulous.