Coffee Cake

It’s my husband’s birthday today. It’s always very difficult when there’s a birthday during the week. How do some people manage to have the day off when it’s their birthday, I don’t know. It never works out that way for me. The same goes for my hubby. We celebrated over the weekend by going out for a meal and being treated to a tour of a local craft brewery and vineyard. Yesterday we gave him his birthday presents and I baked him a cake. Mr SmartCookieSam doesn’t have a sweet tooth but he likes fruit cake, carrot cake and coffee cake. This year I chose to make him a coffee cake as I had some Coffee Nut M&Ms as well as a tub of chocolate covered coffee beans to use up.

Yesterday I had a helper in the kitchen- my mum! She had come up to stay for the weekend and offered to do the washing up! She loves baking herself, when she gets chance.

I bought these Coffee Nut M&Ms when I was in Canada last September. I’ve not seen this flavour before and thought they would be great to bake with. I actually bought two packs but the fairies had been at them and I could only find one packet in the cupboard! Funny how my son said they tasted disgusting so it must’ve been him who troughed them!

To get the coffee flavour in the cake I had to mix two tablespoonfuls of coffee powder with a tablespoonful of water. This made a great paste.

I use the all in one method for my sponges wherever possible so I put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl at the same time. I used Pure Dairy Free Baking Spread as it makes really light sponges, caster sugar, self raising flour, baking powder and free range eggs.

I had to buy a new electric mixer before Christmas and it got another outing this afternoon beating the sponge mixture together.

I then folded in the coffee paste so that it was evenly blended. Then the cake mixture was ready to be divided between two greased and lined sandwich cake tins. I used 20cm/ 8″ diameter ones. My mum had very kindly greased the tins for me. I use ready made parchment circles as they are so much less faff than drawing round the tin and cutting out the circles from a roll of baking parchment. Once the cakes had been divided equally between the tins they went straight into the oven and baked for 20-25 minutes at 160oC.

The M&Ms and chocolate covered cocoa beans I used to decorate the top of the cake with.

To prepare the coffee buttercream for the cake I needed some butter but it was a bit hard despite being out of the fridge for a couple of hours. I cut the butter up into cubes and gave it a quick blast in the microwave for about 20 seconds to take the edge off it.

Here are the finished cakes cooling on the rack. One of them had slightly cracked on it as I had poked the top of them to check if they had been cooked and whether the sponge bounced back when touched. At that time it didn’t, until I had put it back in the oven for another five minutes!

Making the buttercream was simple in that the butter was creamed first, then milk and some more coffee paste was added. Finally I carefully added some icing sugar bit by bit to the mixture. It still didn’t stop the puffs of icing sugar clouds descending all over the work top!

The cake was decorated simply by spreading half the coffee buttercream on the top of one of the cakes and then putting the second one on top. The remainder of the top was spread on the cake with a pallette knife. To finish off I put the coffee M&Ms and cocoa beans around the edge of the cake.

Mr SmartCookieSam had some champagne bottle candles on his cake. Very fitting as we had been to a vineyard tour the day before.

We lit the candles and had a piece of birthday cake with a cup of tea yesterday afternoon. The cake was delicious and there was plenty left over for Mr SmartCookieSam to take to work the next day.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

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