We might be a nation of tea drinkers, but I dare say that most of us like a good cup of coffee (or three) to aide our daily routines. Okay, I have to admit, I am a bit of an elitist when it comes to coffee. I only really drink good coffee and I almost never touch instant. When I was a student, I worked as a barista at Starbucks and, back then, I thought Starbucks coffee was the best. Oh, how I have changed!
I only really drink organic/single origin coffees nowadays and I buy them wholebean to grind at home. Now, that might be personal preference but, as with all ingredients, I believe you should always buy the best you can afford. Having said that, supermarkets do sell nice coffee. If you buy wholebean and grind as you need, you’ll find the coffee is much more flavourful as it hasn’t dried out as much and released all of its aroma.
My recipe for cappuccino traybake calls for freshly-made coffee. It is up to you whether you use instant or filter coffee. My personal preference is for espresso (2 shots), topped up with water to the required volume. Espresso, filter coffee, and coffee made with a French press, even when made with the same beans, all differ in taste. It’s all down to the amount of time, heat, and pressure used to extract the flavour from the beans. Surprisingly, espresso may taste the strongest but it actually has the lowest caffeine concentration when compared to the humble French press. It’s all to do with brewing time!
Whatever you prefer, be sure to give this recipe a go. It is perfect for the office, as a Saturday treat, or as a simple pairing with your morning coffee. The icing has ground coffee running through it for both eye-appeal and flavour; you can omit it, if you prefer, but for me it really takes this traybake to another level. It also makes the cake more of an espresso cake than a coffee cake–I mean, strong!
For the traybake:
- 190 g butter softened
- 190 g light brown sugar
- 3 eggs large
- 225 g plain flour
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2.5 tsp baking powder
- 40 g walnuts (optional)
- 75 ml freshly made coffee cooled
For the icing:
- 400 g mascarpone
- 50 ml freshly made coffee cooled
- 10 g ground coffee
- 50 g icing sugar
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Then, grease and line a 9 inch square pan with baking parchment and butter.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy before adding the eggs one at a time (beating between the addition of each egg.)
- Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder until evenly mixed. (Cocoa powder is not essential, but I find it really boosts the coffee flavour.)
- Next, fold in the walnuts (if using) and cooled coffee.
- Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake fo 30-35 mins or until well risen. To test, place a skewer in the middle of the cake: if it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake for a further five minutes then check again.
Icing and serve
- In a clean bowl, mix together the mascarpone, brewed coffee, coffee grounds, and icing sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy then place in the fridge to chill whilst the cake cools.
- Once the cake is cooled, spread the icing on top of the traybake and dust liberally with cocoa powder.