Chocolate and coffee are one of those flavour pairings that work brilliantly together. Neither flavour overpowers the other, while each contributes its own qualities. The chocolate is of course chocolaty and already full of flavour but the addition of coffee deepens the flavour, making it seem more intense while adding its own rich, almost smokey taste and aroma. Just wonderful.
I used this pairing in a mud cake I made last week for my cake decorating/sugar class Christmas party to celebrate finishing our Christmas cakes (post to follow). The cake is moist yet sturdy and full of the rich, intense mocha flavour. Its dense and fudgey texture makes it resemble more of a brownie than a cake, as I always think of these as being light and fluffy. It’s not that sweet, the rich dark chocolate being the star of the show.
The cake rose into a dome and the surface cracked whilst cooking, but once out of the oven, the dome subsided and the cake turned out almost perfectly flat on top. I served it with some crème fraiche, as its creamy, slightly acidic flavour cut through some of the cakes richness. It was quickly gobbled up along with the mince pies and oat slices that some of the other members bought. It would make a wonderful celebration cake covered in silky ganache or as a dessert for a dinner party, served with crème fraiche and fresh berries.
Mocha Mud Cake
(Adapted from ‘Kitchen Wench’ blog)
200g dark chocolate
25g cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp vanilla
200g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
Grease and line an 8inch/20cm springform cake tin and set to one side. Preheat the oven to 160C.
Put the butter, chocolate, cocoa powder, water and vanilla into a saucepan and place over a low heat to slowly melt. Stir from time to time to ensure even melting.
When completely melted, remove from the heat and set to one side to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar together for 3-4 minutes until pale, thick and creamy.
Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture in a thin stream, beating all the time. Then beat for a further 30seconds until light.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 55-65 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out relatively clean.
Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing and storing in an airtight container until required.
It will keep well for 4-5 days. If any leftovers turn a little dry, heat gently in the microwave and serve with custard.