I’m a big fan of coffee-flavoured anything: ice-cream, cake, actual coffee – just give it to me. But when it comes to ordering a slice of coffee cake, nine times out of 10 I find it to be dry and cardboard-like. So I set about testing a few versions, and found that the oil-based versions were best. Honey & Co in London sells one of the best I’ve had: it’s a Turkish coffee cake with cardamom and walnut, so I’ve taken my memory of that cake to form the base flavours for this one.
Coffee, cardamom, almond and mascarpone cake
I’ve used almonds, because there are ground almonds in the batter, but walnuts will also work.
Prep 40 min
Cook 35 min
Makes 1 x 20cm cake
2 medium eggs
150ml neutral oil – vegetable or sunflower
20g instant coffee, or 150ml really strong brewed coffee
¼ tsp ground cardamom seeds (optional)
100g caster sugar
125g light brown sugar
3g fine salt
7g bicarbonate of soda
5g baking powder
250g plain flour
50g ground almonds
80g roasted chopped almonds or walnuts, plus 1 handful extra to decorate
For the mascarpone frosting
150g white chocolate
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
100g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
150ml double cream
1 pinch salt
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 and boil the kettle. Line the base and sides of two 20cm sandwich tins with baking paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and oil, then set aside. In a jug, brew the coffee (if making instant, pour 130ml boiling water over the granules), add the ground cardamom, if using, and set aside.
In a second bowl, stir the caster sugar, light brown sugar, salt, bicarb, baking powder, plain flour, ground almonds and chopped nuts, until evenly combined.
Pour the coffee mix into the bowl of wet ingredients, stir well, then combine with the dry ingredients.
Divide the mix evenly between the two lined tins, bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean, then remove and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting, melt the white chocolate over a bain-marie or in short bursts in the microwave, then set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, mix the coffee and butter until really soft and the butter has turned coffee-coloured. Add the mascarpone, cream, cooled white chocolate and a pinch of salt, and mix on a medium speed, until it comes together. Use the frosting immediately, both to sandwich the two cakes together and to ice the top.