Mama’s Birthday Coffee-Walnut-Chocolate-Ganache Cake
So, it was my darling Mama’s birthday about two weeks ago now and she requested a coffee and walnut cake. Now, this is one of those ones where I was incredibly proud of the taste and texture of the cake, however, I was a little too liberal with the espresso in the icing and it was a touch runnier than I anticipated. This is what I get for straying too far from the recipe and not having enough mascarpone to salvage things. Fear not, however, I have given you the correct recipe and hopefully you’ll be wise enough to follow it! This cake contains a fair amount of fresh espresso and if that’s not for you, maybe go with a weaker instant coffee mixed with a little boiling water (think paste consistency, not liquid). In my family we’re all coffee fans so the stronger the better!
I love baking for someone’s birthday and I can never wait for them to see it and to taste it, I’m just as bad with gift giving; I get so excited to see how someone will react to what I’ve bought them. Ergo, those supposedly selfless acts, for me, actually have massively selfish motives behind them ; )
This cake, whilst quite decadent and delicious, isn’t just for special occasions however (what cake ever is? Sometimes you just need cake for cake’s sake…), it would also be perfect to have knocking about if you have people coming over for tea or coffee. If that’s the case though maybe forgo the gold and silver candles…
75g roughly chopped walnuts (you’ll want about 10 nice ones to decorate with too)
100ml freshly made espresso (make a little extra to drizzle over the sponge after baking)
225g golden caster sugar
225g unsalted butter
225g plain flour
1 tbsp of milk
3 tsp of baking powder
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa at least)
250ml double cream
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
250g mascarpone cheese
100g icing sugar
2 tbsp freshly made espresso
Pre-heat oven to 180°.
Blitz walnuts and sugar together in a food processor until all the nuts have blended with the sugar to create a fine powder.
Pop the nutty sugary powder into a large bowl and add the butter. Cream together using an electric whisk.
Once the butter and sugar have blended together add in your eggs, espresso, sifted flour and baking powder and beat together until you have a smooth cake mixture.
Grease two nine inch cake pans with a little butter and distribute your mixture equally. Smooth them over with the back of a wooden spoon, or plastic spatula and place in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden and springy.
Once your cakes are baked leave them to cool for ten minutes in the pans then turn them on to a cooling rack and get on with your ganache and icing!
For the ganache; break up the chocolate into small pieces and pop into a bowl, heat the cream and sugar in a pan (stir gently) until it’s just about to boil then pour it over the chocolate and begin to beat it all together. Mix thoroughly until all chocolate has melted and combined with the cream. Set aside.
Put the mascarpone in a bowl and add in the sifted icing sugar and espresso (once again, be careful not to be too liberal!) fold together until it’s all combined. It should have a nice silky texture. Pop this in the fridge and leave to chill.
Get ready to assemble your cake!
On top of the bottom cake (confusing, hey?) smooth on a nice gooey layer of ganache, about a centimetre thick. Then pop the other cake on top of that and drizzle on a little of the fresh espresso – not too much, you don’t want a soggy sponge! – just to give it an extra kick.
Pop the cake into the refrigerator for half an hour or so then smother with your scrummy icing and decorate with some nice big walnuts. Yum.
Happy Birthday, mama!