Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Espresso Cake with Cafe Latte Cream


Nigella's chocolate espresso cake is one of the dreamiest, most delicious chocolate cakes I've ever made. I don't make it that often (most recently in '05 and '07), but that's only because I'm always on the lookout for new cake recipes. I whipped this one up for my Mum's birthday last week, after coming home from work and before going out to Quan Jude. (It's not nearly as labour intensive or impressive as the croquembouche I made for Mum's birthday last year, but I knew that she'd love it anyway).

It's quite like a whipped sponge cake (i.e. whole eggs whipped with sugar until at least doubled in volume), with melted chocolate, butter, vanilla, coffee powder and a touch of flour folded through. It looks like it would be rich and dense, but it is, in fact, feathery light.

The genius part of the cake, though, is the cafe latte cream - cream whipped with melted white chocolate and coffee powder. It has a beautiful, rich intense flavour and perfectly matches the cake. You can spread it on top of the cake, although I prefer it on the side, so you can preserve the rustic beauty of the matt-brown cake.



I forgot to sprinkle the cake with coffee liqueur, but no-one seemed to notice. I tend to think of this cake having a grown-up flavour, but my 14-year old niece loved it. I love this cake for dinner parties, as it can be made in advance, and looks and tastes gorgeous. And for someone who ate duck, noodles, rice, dishes AND dessert earlier that evening, I somehow managed to polish off 2 slices. Oops.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MUM!

4 comments:

Norm said...

I've never made that one - but now I think I will! It looks divine - I'm sure your mum was delighted with it (hope she had a v happy day!)

Jessica said...

hi there, I just tried to make this cake from Nigella's book, and it didn't work out the way i wanted it to be, the cake failed to rise and it became really dense and greasy.
I notice this is your old post so if you came across my message it'll be really helpful and I'll thank you for it.
I tried to follow the recipe as it is, I mixed the eggs pretty long and fast, it did doubled in quantity but not as moussy as i thought it would be, and I didn't want to drag it on too long so i just carried on.
But because I wasn't really happy with the consistency i tried to mix it again with the mixer after I folded in the flour and coffee and butter, and I thought I was doing the right thing because I noticed the flour was lumpy and it needed more mixing.
So in your opinion, where did I go wrong ?
I think it's in the mixing, but the first one or my next attempt ?

Jessica said...

hi there, I just tried to make this cake from Nigella's book, and it didn't work out the way i wanted it to be, the cake failed to rise and it became really dense and greasy.
I notice this is your old post so if you came across my message it'll be really helpful and I'll thank you for it.
I tried to follow the recipe as it is, I mixed the eggs pretty long and fast, it did doubled in quantity but not as moussy as i thought it would be, and I didn't want to drag it on too long so i just carried on.
But because I wasn't really happy with the consistency i tried to mix it again with the mixer after I folded in the flour and coffee and butter, and I thought I was doing the right thing because I noticed the flour was lumpy and it needed more mixing.
So in your opinion, where did I go wrong ?
I think it's in the mixing, but the first one or my next attempt ?

Sarah said...

Hi Jessica,

I think your mistake was in the second mixing. Once you've whipped the air into the eggs and sugar, you have to mix the flour / coffee / butter in very gently and very briefly, so that you don't knock the air out. So I think that's where you went wrong and why your cake didn't rise.

Also, if you overbeat a mixture with flour in it, it overworks the gluten and makes the mixture tough.

I think next time you could beat the eggs and sugar for longer (I've found it can take up to 10 minutes with a strong Kitchen Aid mixer!), and do the second mixing very gently and briefly.

Hope this helps! :)

xox Sarah