Tuesday 27 January 2015

Top With Cinnamon’s Cappuccino Cake

I just adore Izy Hozack’s blog: Top with Cinnamon. I love it! And her new book (cleverly) titled … ‘Top With Cinnamon: Stylish Sweet and Savoury Recipes’ is a masterpiece. Every recipe created by the gal herself has a beautiful accompanying page of gorgeously styled food photography.

There's a great mix of familiar recipes with a slight twist and a few 'out-there' ones like courgette, cornbread pancakes. I actually quite like the sounds of that but who knows if I will ever get round to having courgettes for breakfast, that's another matter!  

As I flicked through the pages deciding what to make, straight away I was drawn to one thing - calling my name out "Frances, Frances bake me, Bake me!!" It was cappuccino cake of course. 

I think I can safely say that this was one of the best coffee cakes I have ever made. It's a great idea from Izy to have a buttercream in between layers and on the sides, but an additional generous topping of coffee flavoured cream which just takes it to the next level. (Note to self: 2 different types of icing are always better than 1!) (Also, I had never thought to use a spoon before to create swirl-like 'C' shapes in the cream to produce that beautiful pattern.)

The deliberate crumb coating effect is also something I hadn't considered doing before, apart from when I actually run out of buttercream... I generally resort to just making more. But I have been won over! As I now like how you can see the layers peeking through. I don't think it would be as effective if it was just a 2 layer cake. Meh!

The texture somewhat reminds me of an opera style cake, as this is a 3 layer cake, with only 3 eggs - you can work out the math to come to the conclusion that there won't be a great deal of rise to these individual sponges. But when you layer them all together it just works and you instantly feel like this isn't just any old coffee cake!

Cappuccino cake from Top With Cinnamon

(serves 9-12)


250g plain flour
3 tsp ground almonds 
220g granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
110g unsalted butter
3 tbsp instant coffee granules
80ml milk
3 eggs

Frosting and filling:
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
125ml whipping cream
360g icing sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
110g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350° F/  Gas 4. Line, grease and flour three 20cm (8 inch) cake tins. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, sugar and salt. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until no large chunks of butter remain.

Dissolve the coffee in 80ml of hot water and pour into the flour mixture, along with the milk and eggs. Mix together using a wooden spoon or a hand-held electric beater.

Divide the batter between the lined cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake springs back when poked with a finger. Let the cakes cool in their tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Remove the baking parchment and turn the cakes right-side up. Leave to cool completely before using a serrated knife to level any domed cakes. 

To make the filling and frosting, combine 2 tablespoons of boiling water and the instant coffee in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the cream until it just starts to thicken. Add the 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of the dissolved coffee. Continue to whisk until it forms soft peaks (if it starts to look grainy, immediately add 2 tablespoons of extra whipping cream and gently stir it in). Chill in the fridge while you make the buttercream.

Make the coffee buttercream by creaming the butter, remaining dissolved coffee and the icing sugar together in a separate bowl until smooth. It should be the consistency of cream cheese so add a splash of milk if it seems too thick.

To assemble, place 1 cooled cake (cut-side down, if levelled) on a cake stand or large platter. Place one-third of the buttercream on top of the cake and use a spoon or butter knife to spread it over the surface of the cake, stopping just shy of the edge. Top with the second cake (again, cut side down) and press down lightly so that the buttercream is pushed to the edge. As before, cover with buttercream and then top with the third cake (cut-side down).

Use the remaining buttercream to very thinly frost the side of the cake (this is known as a crumb coating). Use the coffee-whipped cream to frost the top of the cake. To create the effect shown in the photograph, use a palette knife to create C-shapes in the whipped cream, starting at the top of the cake and moving towards the centre. Do this all along the edge of the cake until you've covered the entire surface, then dust with cocoa powder. The cake will keep in the fridge for a couple of days; bring it to room temperature before serving.  

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