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Espresso Cake

For a while now, I have been trying to experiment with a coffee-flavored cake. Most coffee/espresso flavored cakes usually have the bulk of the flavor coming from the coffee-flavored tiramisu-eque frosting. But what if some coffee is added to the cake itself? Does the flavor transfer over? Intensify?

The answer is - when coffee is added to the cake batter its flavor is bright and great on the palate. However, upon baking, the coffee flavor turns very mild and smoky, and thus hard to discern. So, you do need some form of frosting to impart the coffee flavor. (I tried drizzling some coffee to the freshly baked cake and let it soak in the flavors, but it ruined the texture and consistency of the cake). I'm not sure if adding more coffee to the cake is the solution, or if there is some secret ingredient that will help the coffee retain its composition and flavor while baking. Please let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions!

The cake by itself has a warm and smoky flavor (especially if brown sugar, molasses or honey is added). So, it's definitely worth a try for something different!

Ingredients 
  1. 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
  2. 1 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup honey
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 3 eggs, at room temperature
  8. 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  9. 1/4 cup milk
  10. 1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee/espresso
For frosting:
  1.  1/2 cup cold whipping cream
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar (add more as per taste)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 2 tablespoons - 1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee/espresso (add as much as you like)
  5. a dusting of cocoa powder

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan
  2. Mix all dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  3. In a wide bowl, cream the butter until soft. Add brown sugar and beat until soft and creamy
  4. Add honey and beat until everything mixes
  5. Add the eggs and beat until incorporated
  6. Mix the milk and coffee/espresso. Add to the batter and mix gently until incorporated
  7. Now, add the dry ingredients and gently mix with a spatula until just combined
  8. Transfer the batter to the cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Cool the cake in the pan by placing on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then loosen the edges and invert cake onto a plate.
  10. When at room temperature, spread the frosting:
    1. for the frosting, whip the cold whipping cream until it begins to form soft peaks
    2. Add sugar, vanilla extract, and coffee extract (add 2 tablespoons, mix, taste, and add more as needed)
    3. Whip vigorously until stiff peaks form. Frosting is ready
  11.  Dust some cocoa powder on top and serve

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