Mocha Meringue Cake
I've been a late convert to the joys of coffee.
As a child raised in a tea-drinking household, there was a brute strength to the flavour that I just didn't get. And while as an adult I love my daily, frothy capuccino, even now I gingerly dip my toe in anything stronger.
But I do love a good coffee cake. And this is a great coffee cake.
It's a soft mocha sponge with coffee buttercream, and with a coffee meringue topping and a coffee icing drizzle.
Between the coffee and the sugar rush, it's a real pick-me-up.
I've adapted the recipe from one I found in the BBC Good Food magazine some years ago. Entered into a baking competition by a reader it came in third. Personally, I think that may have been a bit of an injustice. It looked gorgeous. You can find the original recipe here.
I've thought about that cake for a long time, but never got around to making it. Today was the day, and I decided to mix it up a bit and temper the coffee with some chocolate.
Mocha Meringue Cake
Ingredients (makes one 20cm / 8 inch cake)
175g softened unsalted butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
175g self raising flour
1 tbspn cocoa powder
1 tspn baking powder
3 tspn instant coffee
For the Meringue
2 egg whites
100g caster sugar
For the filling
100g softened unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
For the drizzle icing
3 tbspn icing sugar
Few drops water, if needed
Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180 Conventional / 350 F / Gas 4. Grease and baseline two 20cm / 8 inch loose bottomed cake tins.
In a small jug, mix the coffe granules with 3 tbspns boiling water and allow to cool. You'll use this in all components of the cake.
Make the meringue topping first. Using an electric handwhisk, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Add half of the caster sugar and whisk in. Add the rest and whisk until you have stiff peaks. Gently fold in 1 tspn of the coffee mixture. Set aside while you make the sponge mix.
For the sponge, beat together the butter and sugar until they are pale and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved. Slowly add the eggs and mix in. Add 2 tspns of the coffee liquid. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into the bowl, and mix in. Diivide the batter betwen the two tins, with slightly more in one tin than the other. Level the surface with a spatula.
For the tin with the lesser amount of batter, gently top with the meringue and spread roughly over the surface of the batter.
Place both tins in the center of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the sponge tin comes out clean. Remove the tin with only the sponge mix and place on a wire rack to cool. Leave the tin with the meringue mix in the oven for a further 20 minutes. The meringue will be crispy. Remove from the oven and place the tin on the wire rack.
To make the buttercream filling, beat the butter and icing sugar together and add 2 tspns of the coffee liquid. Mix well.
To make the coffee drizzle, mix the icing sugar with 1 tspn of the coffee, adding a little water , if necessary, to get a thickish, but drizzly icing.
Carefully turn the cakes out of the pans. With the meringue layer, as you can't turn it upside down, it's easiest to push the bottom of the pan gently, until you can push the cake out and peel off the greaseproof paper.
To assemble the cake, place the sponge on your cake plate and spread the buttercream filling over. Smooth to the edge and level. Carefully place the meringue layer on top. Dizzle the icing over the top.
If you can wait, and allow it all to set a little bit, it'll be worth it.